A brief commentary on the book of Ruth by G.A. Cooke, who was successively Oriel Professor of the Interpretation of Holy Scripture and Regius Professor of Hebrew at Oxford University. This title is in the public domain.
The ancient narratives of the Book of Judges carry us back to a half-barbarous age of struggle and disorder, memorable chiefly for the deeds of Israel’s heroes: the Book of Ruth, although the scene is laid in the same age, gives us a very different picture. It introduces us to the peaceful life of the home and of the village, with its sorrows and joys, its wholesome industry and kindly virtues; a life which is by no means barren of heroic qualities, but they take the form of unselfish affection and generosity and loyalty to the ties of kindred; a simple community, tenacious of long established customs, and penetrated throughout by a spirit of unaffected piety. No doubt the picture is idealized; but the author, so far from inventing facts which never existed, is evidently describing a life with which he was familiar. [Continue reading]
One of my aims in 2018 is to make available more biblical commentaries. Here are four on the books of first and second Kings; two short, two long. Colour maps are included, enhanced as much as possible to overcome the fading in the originals. All are in the public domain.
1) Please introduce yourself and your role at Redcliffe College
I am the ‘Research Fellow’ at Redcliffe College. This means I do teaching and research, mainly in the area of the Bible and mission. A big part of my role is encouraging colleagues and students to get their research known and used by the global Church.
2) Tell us a little about Redcliffe College
This year is Redcliffe’s 125th anniversary. In recent years we have made some big changes (e.g., moving away from a traditional residential model), while retaining a clear vision of what we believe we have been called to do. Today we are focused on equipping women and men for cross-cultural service through a number of taught MA programmes. You could describe them as vocational and professional development for people passionately engaged in God’s mission. Our main courses are MAs in Contemporary Missiology (with optional specialisms in Bible and Mission, Scripture Engagement, European Mission, and Justice, Advocacy and Reconciliation); Leadership in a Complex World; Member Care; and (through our partnership with Wycliffe Bible Translators) Field Linguistics; and Language Programme Development.
3) Are the courses full time, part-time or a mixture of both?
All of our courses are part-time, with an emphasis on combining intensive teaching blocks and supported learning by distance. The Linguistics and LPD programmes involve longer periods on-site: usually up to five months at a time. The Missiology, Leadership, and Member Care courses usually involve two three-week schools for the face-to-face class-time, although can involve a long-weekend mode as well.
We’ve been excited to launch a hub in Oceania this year, with a cohort of Member Care and Leadership students beginning their studies in January in Sydney. This coming January they will be back together for the next teaching block along with new students, this time in New Zealand.
4) How do Redcliffe’s students fund their studies, and do you take students from overseas?
Our students come from the UK and from around the globe! They tend to fund their studies through a range of sources, and often a combination of things like personal savings, ministry support, organisational sponsorship, fundraising and trusts, and so on. We also have some finance available that students can apply for that can contribute to the costs.
5) What type of ministry is Redcliffe intended to prepare students for?
I think our students reflects the diversity that is mission today. They are from all over, and are involved in mission in a multiplicity of ways. Because of the nature of the programmes they are often already in a role, and so the courses are helping them to continue and develop in that role. They may be involved in Church planting and evangelism, justice and advocacy work, media, literacy and education, student ministry, Bible translation, member care, Scripture Engagement, working with refugees and asylum seekers, and all kinds of leadership roles.
I absolutely love it when I see students wrestling with issues in their roles or contexts, and then passing on the fruit of their thinking in really applied ways.
8) What is distinctive about what Redcliffe offers compared with other colleges in the UK and overseas?
I think our main distinctives are the type of programmes we offer and the way that people can access them. I really love the way the programmes combine deep learning with ministry reflection. The best thing I can do to illustrate this is to quote a recent graduate:
‘Doing a Masters in Member Care at Redcliffe has been vitally important in my ministry development. I appreciated the rigorous academic framework, and the friendly staff who were approachable and available. I am able to apply many aspects of the course to my day-to-day ministry, and it gave me the confidence to bring about changes in member care practices that I believe help ensure that members stay healthy, resilient and effective as they seek to be church in places where there is no church.’
9) Please tell us about the library and other research facilities
As well as the on-site library in Gloucester we have been investing an increasing amount in electronic resources. Students spend a very small proportion of the duration of their programme physically on-site so it is essential that they have access to excellent online resources.
One of our biggest investments has been to subscribe to Sage Research Methods [SRM], which is an amazing resource for students and staff. A great thing about SRM is that students can continue to access it after graduating as well.