Post-Doctoral Research @ Tyndale House, Cambridge, UK

Posted: June 5, 2017 in General

18194138_10210978303887547_8220654040290507346_nMy Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship at Tyndale House, Cambridge, UK, during the whole month of May 2017, contributed some of the significant moments in my life. As a scholar in residence, I had access to both the Tyndale House and the University of Cambridge libraries. I thank Dr. Peter Williams, the Principal and Warden of the Tyndale House, for extending all the possible helps for my travel, stay and research in the Cambridge area. During my stay in Cambridge, I also had the opportunity to visit the University of Oxford (Bodleian) library and some of the significant historical locations and colleges of that area. It was one of the rarest moments for me to attend the Oxford Center for Mission Studies (OCMS) graduation ceremony. My visit to the British Library and the British Museum in London adds further significance to my stay in UK. I was able to witness some of the significant New Testament manuscripts such as the Codex Sinaiticus, the Codex Alexandrinus, the Oxyrhynchus Papyri, the Codex Bezae, and many other ancient versions and translations of the New Testament.

The Tyndale House Chapel Services on Tuesdays and the Barbecues on Fridays were good times for spiritual, friendly, and scholarly interactions with some of the world-class scholars. The coffee-break times at 11 AM and 4 PM on every day strengthened our relationship with one another. It was one of my rare opportunities to meet and interact with reputed scholars such as Prof. Richard Bauckham (St. Andrews), Dr. Simon Gathercole (Cambridge), Prof. John Barclay (Durham), Dr. Peter Williams (Tyndale), Dr. Dirk Jongkind (Tyndale), Dr. David Instone-Brewer (Tyndale), Prof. Markus Bockmuehl (Oxford), Prof. Judith M. Lieu (Cambridge), Prof. Morna D. Hooker (Cambridge), and many others in diverse occasions in UK. Their insights on my post-doctoral research work as well as on many other related topics helped me to build my thoughts and attune my ideas about the person and work of Saint Bartholomew the Apostle. During my stay in Cambridge, I was able to put a strong foundation for my monograph, collect the maximum number of materials, and establish a good scholarly bond with several international scholars. On several occasions, I was able to present my book proposal in individual and small group settings and received feedback from reputed scholars.

18622576_1336860156433091_6084452016179902532_nMy current monograph is entitled “Saint Bartholomew the Apostle: New Testament, Apocrypha, and Historical Traditions,” which is signed for Fortress Press, Minneapolis, and is expected to be finished in 2018. This is the first study of the Bartholomew traditions in the East from an interdisciplinary perspective. The focal question is as follows: Are the Bartholomew traditions in the New Testament, in the apocryphal Bartholomew compositions, and the early Bartholomew traditions in India and other parts of the world purely legendary (as biblical scholars have assumed) or do they preserve unexamined historical traditions intermittently? The general tendency of studying the character of Bartholomew from the New Testament, apocrypha, and historical traditions, independently from one another, led the interpreters far from a broader understanding of the character. The dichotomy of studying the character independently from the limits of canonical, apocryphal, and historical disciplines created a lot of gaps within the area of Bartholomew studies. This situation persuades me to look at the Bartholomew literature comprehensively to understand the character from a broader perspective.

The current study is also intended to address the following subsidiary questions: Are Bartholomew and Nathanael in the gospel traditions same personality or are they different characters? How can an interdisciplinary perspective help us to understand the character of Bartholomew comprehensively? How was Bartholomew connected to the Eastern Christianity and how does the Bartholomew literature support/not support this connectivity? Can we understand the Bartholomew traditions related to diverse geographical locations with the help of canonical, extra-canonical, and traditional-historical documents? These questions will be adequately dealt with in the process of exploring the Bartholomew literature. The task of the study is threefold: investigate the development of the Bartholomew literature right from the beginning, understand the peculiar approaches and methodologies of interpreting Bartholomew documents, and analyze the Bartholomew literature integratively to understand the character and his mission involvements.

By Johnson Thomaskutty, HOD of NT, Union Biblical Seminary, Pune, India.

  1. ntdan says:

    Greetings. My name is Dan Fabricatore and I enjoyed reading your blog chronicling your time at Tyndale House. I am considering a 3 month sabbatical from my pastoral ministry in Maryland, USA and it helped me to get a feel for what life would be like at Tyndale House. Any advice would be appreciated.

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