Michael Powell


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Scripture and Practice - Paper 4

Ongoing biblical work NOTES ON some newer biblical studies texts relevant to building and built environment

URBAN RELIGION IN ROMAN CORINTH: Interdisciplinary Approaches

edited by Daniel N Schowalter and Steven J Friesen

Harvard University Press 2005             523pp  ISBN 0-674-01660-2

Chapter 1 by GDR Sanders entitled Urban Corinth: An Introduction and Chapter 2 by David Gilman Romano entitled Urban and Rural Planning in Roman Corinth start right where we do as built environment professionals, with the physical place as discovered by archaeologists and others.

I am dipping into the following fifteen chapters on a variety of topics building, religions, culture and much else, Paul and many others - with a feeling of starting to really know the place and being able to see events and movements in a context.

JESUS THROUGH MIDDLE EASTERN EYES: Cultural Studies in the Gospels

by Kenneth E Bailey

SPCK 2008                 443pp              ISBN 978-0281-05975-1

Kenneth Bailey has spent his life working with Christian communities in the Middle East, on the home ground of the New Testament. In a very factual way he takes us into the narratives and teachings of Jesus on their own ground.

Chapter 1 on the birth of Jesus includes sketches of Palestinian houses showing living and stable accommodation!

Part 6 unwraps eleven of the parables. Any builder will be attracted to Ch 25, The Parable of the Two Builders, Ch 26, The Parable of the Unjust Steward, and Ch 28 The Parable of the Compassionate Employer. This is our stuff, what our lives are about.

Now, this book is not primarily about building: its about Jesus, the culture of his time and the way the rhetorical way in which the text is structured. But the fact that there are some very obvious building-related footholds sets off ones interest and, I find, inspires one to go inside this living place and story opened up by Bailey.

Particularly when I was doing my M Phil and PhD work, the hardest part was making links with the New Testament. Well, these two books help.


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