Living in the silence of Holy Saturday

Today is a day when we do nothing. For those whose tradition takes them through a detailed re-enactment of the events of Passion Week, the seven days set out in the gospels (especially Mark), this day is striking in its stillness. In Catholic tradition, nothing can be celebrated, the only exception being in the case of the ministry at the moment of death. In the mostly Catholic Philippines, you are traditionally not allowed to go swimming (though a concession has been made for Saturday afternoon) and even television broadcasters limit their output. 

All this is in response to the stark silence of the gospel accounts for this day. Mark’s gospel mentions it only in retrospect (‘When the Sabbath was over…’ Mark 16.1). In Matthew, it is the day when the temple guard is despatched to the tomb, but nothing else happens (Matt 27.62–66). Luke explains for the sake of any non-Jewish readers the obligation to rest on the Sabbath, thus accounting for the silent day (Luke 23.56). John also includes a work (‘Jewish’) of explanation, but doesn’t actually tell us what he is explaining (not mentioning the Sabbath; John 19.42). 

There’s something (humble?) about Mary

This week we celebrated the Annunciation, the announcement by Gabriel to Mary that she will become pregnant and give birth to Jesus recorded in Luke 1—and it reminds us that Christmas is coming! I know Christmas circular letters are not everyone’s cup of tea, but we enjoy writing ours as a review of the year, and catching up with what has been going on in the lives of others. For those who don’t like them, their distaste is summed up in that archetypal circular where everything is going wonderfully well—the demands of new jobs following promotions, the stresses of getting ready for exotic foreign holidays, and the difficulty of keeping up with so many achievements by the children. (Should you receive any like this, Lynne Truss offers a variety of ways of responding..)

Tyndale NT Study Group 26–28 June 2019: Orality, writing and the formation of the canon

We have a fascinating line-up of papers for the NT Study Group this year focussing on orality, writing and the formation of the canon. Do come and join us to engage in some world-class scholarship! The Tyndale New Testament Study Group is part of the Tyndale Fellowship for biblical and theological research, based at Tyndale House in Cambridge, and including … Continue Reading