The Morpeth Lecture forms part of the University of Newcastle, Australia's annual Public Lecture Program.

Morpeth Lecture

The Morpeth Lecture was established in 1967 to celebrate the partnership between the University of Newcastle and the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle. The name of the Morpeth Lecture comes from the College of St John the Evangelist at Morpeth, the previous ministry training and education centre of the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle.

2015 Morpeth Lecture


The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Authority of the Bible

Tuesday 15 September 2015

The Dead Sea Scrolls have changed Christian understandings of the authority of the Bible. It is now widely recognised that several books found in the Jewish Bible and the Christian Old Testament had complex histories of development and existed in multiple editions in the pre-canonical period.

Professor George J. Brooke explored textual pluralism in relation to the teachings of Jesus and the writings of the New Testament to argue that Jesus and the first generations of his followers lived with, and took advantage of, Jewish scriptures in ways not previously envisaged.

Professor Brooke is Rylands Professor of Biblical Criticism and Exegesis at the University of Manchester, UK, where he has taught Biblical Studies and Early Judaism since 1984. He was a founding editor of the Dead Sea Discoveries journal and his book, The Complete World of the Dead Sea Scrolls has sold more than 70,000 copies.

For more information about the Morpeth Lecture contact the Office of Alumni and Philanthropy on +61 2 4921 6380 or

Watch previous lectures below.

Theology between Religion and Politics 

Dr Tim Stanley delivered the Morpeth Lecture on Tuesday 29 May 2012. 

Dr Stanley, lecturer in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Newcastle, spoke on theology's place in current debate about the resurgence of religion in contemporary political life.

Why Believe?

Professor Graham Ward, Regius Professor of Divinity at Oxford University, delivered the 2013 Morpeth Lecture Why Believe? on Tuesday 23 July.  

To have beliefs is a characteristic of being human. In this lecture Professor Graham Ward examined the nature of believing itself, the signs of its origins both in human prehistory and contemporary investigations into neuroscience. He also examined the way this anthropological condition relates to religious traditions and faith, emotional life and social organisation.

Two-Faced, Two Ways 

History shows relationships with First Australians have been two-faced. There is another way.

What sort of relationship do we all want and need with the First Australians? How can we heal together, and progress from an infantile relationship to one more positive?

The Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle, The Right Reverend Greg Thompson, spent seven years as Bishop of the Northern Territory, and previously 10 years working in community organisations and parish ministries in the 'top end'.

Bishop Greg reflected on his experiences in the Territory, exploring the concepts of 'closing the gap' and reconciliation for First Australians. 

He argued that leadership isn't always about knowing the answers, but about working together to find a common pathway and move forward.

Presented in collaboration with the Anglican Diocese of Newcastle, the 2014 Morpeth Lecture was held on Wednesday 23 July in Christ Church Cathedral, Newcastle.

Read the transcript or watch below.