Volume 6, Issue 1, February 1993
Presence or Absence: The Question of Women Disciples at the Last Supper
This article examines the literary role of women in the passion and resurrection narratives and the practice of the historical Jesus which lies behind the Gospels. Jesus probably included a wider group of disciples than the twelve at the Last Supper, among whom were a number of women. This is reflected in the uneven dynamic between female presence and absence in the Synoptics. Only in John is there the real possibility of women's presence at the Last Supper, although Mark uses the motif of presence/absence to contrast female fidelity with male infidelity.
The Distortion of Christian Ritual
Although we normally expect christian liturgies to have benevolent effects on the participants, this may not always be the case. Christian rituals may not only fail to achieve their intended purpose, they may also suffer from distortion, with harmful results. Two kinds of distortion may be distinguished here: "recipient distortion", which arises from defects in the recipients of the ritual action; and "symbolic distortion", which arises from within the patterns of the ritual symbols themselves. We need to attend to strategies of detection and correction, particularly for symbolic distortion. The extensive footnotes to this article constitute a sub-text in themselves: this is a deliberate choice on the part of the author in order to seperate basic argument from illustration, comment, and useful references.
Metaphorical theology rightly insists that metaphorical language about God can be both cognitively meaningful and spiritually nourishing. Metaphors, models and stories all have use and value. On the other hand, despite some claims, they also have their limitations. As Aquinas pointed out, systematic theology depends on the analogical, literal use of language.
Human Rights as Land Rights in the Pacific
Do human rights in their conventional, Western understanding really meet the needs of Pacific peoples? This article argues that land rights are a better clue to those needs. In Aboriginal Australia, Fiji, West Papua and Papua New Guinea, case studies show that people's relationship to land is religious and implicitly theological. This article therefore suggests that rights to land need to be supplemented by rights of the land extending to the earth as the home of the one human community and nature as the matrix of all life.
Scripture, Inspiration and the Word of God
This article seeks to restate the idea of the inspiration of scripture in the context of contemporary debates about authority. It is argued that an adequate theory of scripture must be constructed as part of a comprehensive theology of the "word of God", on the one hand, and a dynamic theology of the Spirit, on the other. In short, the doctrine of the inspiration of scripture cannot be stated in isolation, as if the Bible could be treated as an isolated object, whole and complete in itself. Only as the word of God empowered by the Spirit of God is comprehended in all its dimensions, and as the reception and interpretation of each dimension is apprehended in dialogical relation to the others, can we grasp what is the unique and irreplaceable part that biblical literature plays in the economy of God's self-declaration in human history.
The Living Psalms
Towards a Feminist Critical Reading of the Gospel According to Matthew
The Gospel According to Saint Matthew, Volume II
The Quest for the Messiah: The History, Literature and Theology of the Johannine Community
The Son of Man in the Gospel of John
Augustine, The Trinity
The Emptying God: A Buddhist - Jewish - Christian Conversation
The Meaning of Christ: A Mahayana Theology
The Church's Social Teaching from Rerum Novarum to 1931
Through Aboriginal Eyes
Cry for Justice: The Aboriginal & Islander Contribution to the World Council of Churches 7th Assembly
Dorothy A. Lee has been appointed Professor of New Testament, from 1994, at the United Faculty of Theology in Melbourne, where she is currently lecturing. Her main interests are John's Gospel and feminist exegesis. Her doctoral thesis, The Symbolic Narratives of the Fourth Gospel, will appear in 1993. She is an ordained minister of the Uniting Church and is married with two children.
Neil Darragh, S.T.L., M.A., teaches systematic theology in the Auckland Consortium for Theological Education, an affiliated teaching institution of the Melbourne College of Divinity and Auckland University, New Zealand. He is also parish priest of the parish of Tuakau in the Catholic diocese of Auckland. He has previously been involved in university, prison, and Polynesian chaplaincies, and has taught theology at Otago University. His current research interests are in contextual theology and christian ritual.
John Begley S.J., is Dean of Studies at Newman College, the University of Melbourne, and lectures on philosophy at Catholic Theological College, the United Faculty of Theology, and the Yarra Theological Union.
John D'Arcy May, after completing an S.T.L. at the Gregorian University, did postgraduate research in Germany, for which he received doctorates in ecumenical theology from the University of Münster (1975) and in the history of religions from the University of Frankfurt (1983). After teaching at the Catholic Ecumenical Institute in the University of Münster for eight years he spend four years (1983-87) working with ecumenical organisations in Papua New Guinea. He was Director of the Irish School of Ecumenics in Dublin (1987-1990), where he now teaches interfaith dialogue and social ethics. He is married with one daughter.
Graeme Garrett, B.Sc., Dip. Ed., B.D. (Hons.), Th.D., lectures in systematic theology at St. Mark's National Theological Centre in Canberra. He is also editor of St Mark's Review, a quarterly journal of Christian thought and opinion.