We are delighted to announce a new online MA track for September 2024. We are now accepting applicants for September to study the Bible and Violence Track as part of the Taught MA in Theology, Ministry & Mission offered by Bristol Baptist and Trinity Colleges, accredited by Durham University. It will be taught part-time over three years, following the structure outlined below. The modules will be taught in a synchronous learning environment, with a live virtual classroom. This MA track looks at both biblical violence, and the way the Bible is used in violent situations in the contemporary world. As a study centre with an international reputation, we welcome applicants from all over the globe – with no need for a visa or relocation. Fees to be confirmed.

Students registered through the CSBV automatically become part of this lively research institution, with the possibility of collaborating in research projects, conferences and more. We also run a seminar group for our MA students which allows them to explore relevant themes beyond the classroom environment. A Postgraduate Diploma option is also available.


Modules

2024-25
20 CreditsHermeneutics of Biblical ViolenceHelen Paynter
20 CreditsViolence and the PentateuchAshley Hibbard
20 CreditsGirard and the ApocalypseStephen Finamore
2025-26
20 CreditsGender-based Violence and the Christian TraditionHelen Paynter
20 CreditsResearch MethodologyAshley Hibbard
20 CreditsPeace-making MovementsMaria Power
2026-27
60 CreditsDissertation

Module Descriptors

Hermeneutics of Biblical Violence

Revd Dr Helen Paynter

How do we read the Bible responsibly and intelligently as faithful disciples of Jesus in the 21st century? Why do different people interpret the Bible in different ways? This module addresses many such challenging and stimulating hermeneutical questions, with particular focus on the texts of biblical violence. We will take a deep dive into the field of contemporary hermeneutics, considering how the questions, techniques and presuppositions that we bring to our study of Scripture can shape the way we interpret it. Come expectant to be challenged, stretched, irritated and inspired! We will consider such a wide range of hermeneutical techniques that you definitely won’t like them all. But as we practice the virtues of gracious engagement we will wrestle together with how to discern which methodologies we consider faithful and fruitful.

Violence and the Pentateuch

Dr Ashley Hibbard

The first five books of the Old Testament are foundational to understanding the rest of scripture. They are also rife with every sort of violence we can imagine: divine violence, interpersonal violence, systemic violence and injustice, sexual violence, and arguably even some acts that could be considered terrorism and genocide. What do we do with such crucial yet difficult books? How and where do we see the goodness of God in troubling texts? Where is there good news–for us, for our world, for our churches–in these books? This class will provide a thorough examination of these and other questions.

Girard and the Apocalypse

Revd Dr Stephen Finamore

Rene Girard’s thought offers an innovative Christian approach to the issue of violence. His ideas about imitative desire, scapegoats and apocalypse have been hugely influential. The book of Revelation is full of violent imagery. In this module we will seek to read Revelation in the light of Girard’s thought. His ideas may help us understand the role of the martyrs, the call to be witnesses, and what it means to overcome. Our goal will be to take a poorly understood text at the margins of the Canon and allow it to speak about the calling of the Church in our troubled times.

Gender-based Violence and Christian Tradition

Revd Dr Helen Paynter

Gender-based violence is encountered in every culture, every nation, and is as old as human history. How does the Bible represent it? How do we interpret the places where it might seem to endorse it? What resources does it offer to those engaging with contemporary situations such as domestic abuse, war rape, sex trafficking, or hypermasculinity cultures? Why does the church sometimes get drawn into enabling ongoing abuse? In this module we will engage with cutting-edge work at the intersection of biblical studies, social studies, trauma theory, and more, to think deeply about culture, religion and praxis in this important field. The module convenor, Helen Paynter, is the author of Telling Terror in Judges 19: Rape and Reparation for the Levite’s Wife (Routledge, 2020), and The Bible Doesn’t Tell Me So: Why you don’t have to submit to domestic abuse and coercive control (BRF, 2020).

Research Methodology

Dr Ashley Hibbard

A magnificent building can be breathtaking to behold, but it can be easy to miss the knowledge and skills that allowed for its creation. The knowledge and the technique of architects, overseers, and tradespeople are all critical to a successful construction, and excellence is the difference between a building that will crumble, and a building that will last. Research methodology might be hard to get excited about, but for biblical scholars and theologians, it is where we, like master builders, come to understand what will make for careful and rigorous theological work that will be of lasting value.

Peace-Making Movements

Dr Maria Power

Have you wondered how Christian social ethics promote peace, justice and nonviolence? What is the role of the Christian Churches in conflict and post-conflict situations and how can it create a positive impact in the public square? This module will explore the different forms of Christian approaches to peace-making. It will show the variety of perspectives within the church and demonstrate how these perspectives can work together. A critical engagement with the recent case studies, such as Ukraine and Rwanda, will enable you to contextualise peace-making practices in your own contexts and conversations.

The sessions will provide theological insights and practical tools to:

  • Explore different approaches to peace-making within Christianity and Christian Ethics
  • Engage with the range of different perspectives that exist within the Christian Churches
  • Examine Christian responses to the conflicts that are currently taking place

Dissertation

A 15,000 word dissertation due in year 3.


Entry Requirements

  • An upper second class Honours degree or equivalent in a subject relevant to the proposed course of study
  • Normally students will need a good degree (or other Level 6 qualification, such as a Graduate Diploma) in theology
  • Motivation and preparation for study
  • Three references – one academic, one church, and one other
  • Other formal qualifications will be considered on an individual basis
  • Relevant work and life experience will also be considered
  • An online interview will normally be required

For more information and to apply, contact the administrator.