studying at st barnabas

SBC Postgraduate Seminar 2019


On Monday 18th of February, SBC hosted the first in a series of joint postgraduate seminars, presented in conjunction with various other theological colleges in Adelaide.

We had three presenters from SBC:

  • Dr Damian Szepessy
  • The Rev’d Dr Joseph Chung
  • and The Rev’d Dr Cathy Thomson (who filled in last minute)

Karl Barth’s Soteriology: A Clear Preservation of Mystery and a (Strangely) Contemporary Discourse Within a Postmodern era

Presented by The Rev’d Dr Cathy Thomson, Cathy discussed the Karl Barth’s understanding of salvation and how it could function constructively in dialogue in a postmodern era. For Barth, salvation is primarily located within the incarnation, (with the cross being the final fulfilment of the incarnation) and discussed in essentially non-metaphysical categories. As a result, it opens it up to dialogue with postmodern philosophy which is responsible for the deconstruction of discourses surrounding traditional metaphysical concepts such as ontology, causality and epistemology. Resultantly, Barth’s explanation of the mystery of salvation retains its character as mystery, in that it does not try to construct a totalising metaphysical scheme from the literalising of metaphorical passages of atonement in Scripture, but rather retains the multivalent imagery.

The Decalogue in the Vision of Zechariah

Presented by The Rev’d Dr Joseph Chung, Joseph focused upon the allusions to the 10 Commandments within various prophetic literature, but primarily within the fifth vision in the book of Zechariah. Within, he focused on the linguistic and grammatical connections to the third, eighth and ninth commandments, to not use the name of the LORD in vain, to not steal and to not bear false witness. What it seems to indicate is that Zechariah, in some sense, presents an earlier pre-redaction version of the 10 Commandments as found in the Pentateuch in its various posited sources. Joseph drew several conclusions from his study: that the teaching of individual commandments in Israel is a longstanding tradition; that the upholding of the Torah was a uniquely prophetic vocation; that the violation of commandments was necessarily expected to result in consequences.

Citizenship as a New Identity: Conversion in the Letter to the Philippians

Presented by Dr Damian Szepessy, Damian drew upon his PhD thesis looking at St Paul’s letter to the Philippians. Looking at Philippians 1:27 – 30 through the lens of Social Identity Theory (SIT). After explaining the theoretical basis of SIT, he analysed the notion of identity formation in the process of conversion. Particularly speaking, he highlighted how conversion in the letter to the Philippians is conceptualise more along the lines of inheriting a new social identity as a citizen of the kingdom of God, rather than a mere transformation of the heart (though not excluding this). Being a citizen of this new kingdom would consequently mean a radical change in worldview, loyalty, means of self-identification and self-determination and so on.

Videos of each presentation will be uploaded in the coming weeks, so keep an eye out for those!

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