Prof Peter Oakes gives inaugural lecture

On 28 November members of the Centre for Biblical Studies were delighted to be among the audience for Prof Peter Oakes' Inaugural Lecture.

Prof Oakes' distinguished career brought him to the University of Manchester in 1997 and his enormous contribution has been recognised with his professorial appointment.

Prof Oakes is the first Professor of the New Testament at the University of Manchester, a fact which serves only to underscore his achievements.

Introduced by Prof Peter Scott, Prof Oakes gave a paper entitled 'New Testament, Empire and Economics: From archaeology via audience lives to interpretation of texts'.

The subject matter brought together several aspects of Prof Oakes' work, including patronage, economics and social structure in the New Testament, and the earliest Christian audiences of the text.

Prof Oakes argued that economics offers a route into understanding the New Testament as a set of texts written for non-elite audiences in the first-century Roman empire. He focused upon three texts in particular:

  • "Let every person be subject to the governing authorities!" (Romans 13:1).
  • "These people all act in opposition to the decrees of Caesar" (Acts 17:7).
  • "Sell what you have and give to the poor!" (Mark 10:21).

He also explained how Pompeian archaeological evidence helps us to think through aspects of the lives of first-century non-elite people and to gain some understanding of the implications for them of the range of New Testament ideas.

The lecture was well received, as was the vote of thanks offered by Emeritus Professor George Brooke to conclude the event!

Prof Oakes was joined by much of the audience at the subsequent reception.

Members of the Centre were delighted to congratulate Prof Oakes on his much-deserved achievement.

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