Monday, November 26, 2007

Interview with Tomas Bokedal

I thought I would interview my latest friend in this part of the world, Dr. Tomas Bokedal now of Kings College, Aberdeen University.

How did you come into biblical studies?
I started to read the Bible when I was ten. I took the path to biblical studies as a scholarly discipline by first doing physics, philosophy and literature. But as soon as I had done my first theology course, I knew this was what I should be doing.

How as a Swede do you find life in Scotland?
As a Swede I love the nature, the hills and the sea. Outdoors is perfect. I also find some cultural similarities between Swedes and Scots, football, language etc. I’m impressed by the educational system in Scotland. People is very friendly here!

What is your book The Scriptures and the Lord: Formation and Significance of the Christian Biblical Canon about?
My book explores the emergence of the Christian biblical canon and its significance for the early as well as for the contemporary church. I present some major challenges to previous research on the biblical canon (earlier dating, fine-tuning of the concept of canon, emphasising the codex format, effective-history, liturgical aspects, the use of nomina sacra, and the Rule of Faith). I defend the apostolic formula "the Scriptures and the Lord" as a good summary of the Christian canon. All in all you could say my book is about the formation and significance of the Christian Bible: how, when and why?

Where does one go on-line to purchase a copy of your book?
I’m afraid one has to contact me. It’s also available in a few libraries and I am presently revising it for a second edition.

What are you teaching at Aberdeen and what areas would you be* interested in supervizing a Ph.D?
This year I am teaching on the following courses: Jesus of Nazareth: Life, Teaching, Context; Earliest Portraits of Jesus; Method in Theology; and Paul of Tarsus (for details, see my webpage). I am presently supervising in the areas of Synoptic Gospels and Paul. Of particular interest is the various and detailed use of the Old Testament in the New.
I very much welcome new PhD students. It would be great if someone would like to write on the so-called ‘testimonia hypothesis’ or on the early kerygma. Of course any good topic is interesting. Doing PhD studies is so much fun and the student’s own interest must be a guiding principle.

What do you hope to write on in the near future?
At the moment I am writing a paper on the development of the nomina sacra. Another paper treats the role of hermeneutical reflection in New Testament canonisation. In the near future I hope to be contributing in the areas of Synoptic Gospels and New Testament theology.

What do you see as the relationship between faith and scholarship?
To me, this relationship is crucial. The truth seeking of good scholarship has the potential of serving the interest of Christian communities and vice versa. Philology, history and theology are of great interest to both.
Most important of all, Tomas and I are probably the only two NT scholars in the world who both have a background in military intelligence!!!

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