Columbia Theological Seminary to Examine 'The Strange New World of the Bible'

Columbia Theological Seminary’s 2006 January Seminars, “The Strange New World of the Bible,” will feature acclaimed theologians Walter Brueggemann, David Bartlett, and Barbara Brown Taylor.

Offered by the Lifelong Learning program, the seminars take place Jan. 30 - Feb. 1, 2006, on the seminary’s campus in Decatur, Ga. Established in 1828, Columbia Theological Seminary is one of 10 theological institutions of the Presbyterian Church (USA).

“God is always calling us to a world that doesn’t fit our presumed categories,” say organizers of the 2006 January Seminars. “The Bible is full of things that don’t make sense: Jerusalem is destroyed ... Jesus proclaims the kingdom of God in Mark’s Gospel ... Sacred texts that we count on to affirm our own religious identity call us to meet God in the stranger.”

With this as a base, Brueggemann, Bartlett, and Taylor will discuss how today’s believers might learn from “the strange new world of the Bible” and respond as twenty-first century disciples.

Brueggemann’s topic is “Jeremiah: Seeking the Welfare of the City.” As the author of
numerous books and articles, Brueggemann is interested in interpretive issues that lie behind efforts at Old Testament theology. These issues include the relation of the Old Testament to the Christian canon, the Christian history of doctrine, Jewish-
Christian interactions, and the cultural reality of pluralism. Brueggemann is currently professor emeritus of Old Testament, Columbia Theological Seminary.

Bartlett, professor of New Testament at Columbia, will speak on “Mark’s Gospel in the Spring Lectionary Cycle.” Bartlett is an ordained minister of the American Baptist Churches USA and has taught at Union Theological Seminary in Virginia and Yale Divinity School. His latest book, What’s Good About This News? Preaching from the Gospels and Galatians, explores how to reconcile the biblical text’s message to a contemporary context and to a particular congregation’s character and need.

Taylor’s topic is “Us and Them: Religious Strangers Post 9/11.” She is an Episcopal priest who teaches religion at Piedmont College in northeast Georgia and is an adjunct professor of Christian spirituality at Columbia. An editor-at-large for The Christian Century, she is the author of ten books, including When God Is Silent and Speaking of Sin: The Lost Language of Salvation.

While Bartlett and Taylor will both be speaking on Tuesday, Jan. 31, Brueggemann will be speaking on Monday and Wednesday. Each session is approximately three hours in length and there will also be time for worship and fellowship. For more information regarding the event, call 404-687-4562 or e-mail

Prospective attendants can find registration forms at