Rev. Fergus King
Conjoint Senior Lecturer
School of Humanities and Social Science (Philosophy, Religion and Theology)
- Phone:No office. No phone......
My interests have been shaped by time spent as student teacher and priest in Scotland, Tanzania, England and Australia, as well as contacts elsewhere in Southern and Central Africa. African colleagues have imbued me with an sense of urgency: the study of mission and New Testament must have some purpose and matter-seriously. The Bible engages with issues of salvation and liberation, and its handling must earth those matters in the stuff of everyday life. On the plus side this gives a great enthusiasm for the subject: I try to research with some fire in my belly. The downside is an impatience with some of the fustiness of New Testament Studies as a northern academic tradition. Above all, it raises issues of justice, and a great concern that the power of reading Scripture must not rest solely with those whom geography and circumstance sets in the privileged places of scholarship in the global north: there needs to be leveling of the playing field so that insights of all readers be respected, and not pushed to the margins by those who would limit valid scholarship to those well-versed in the rules of a guild.
The New Testament in its context (with an emphasis on socio-historical and rhetorical criticism), Contextual Biblical Interpretation, Bible in Africa, Hermeneutics- particularly the significance of Barr, Bahktin, Gadamer, Jonathan Z. Smith and Wittgenstein for reading the Scriptures, Missiology with particular reference to the NT. My more recent work has seen me developing these thinkers' various insights into a methodology which explores the family resemblances between literary, philosophical and theological themes in the nexus of Judaism, Graeco-Romanitas and emerging Christianity, particularly in relation to the Johannine literature. This means that I have been returning to my roots a s a classicist particularly in regard to Graeco-Roman religion, Epicureanism and Stoicism. I am currently supervising a PhD at University of Newcastle.
I have taught courses in both English and Kiswahili at diploma and undergraduate levels on a variety of subjects: New Testament, Church History (esp early Church History), hermeneutics, homiletics, missiology and African theology. I have also taught Greek, and developed my own course for teaching Greek to students for whom English was a second (or later) language. Given that theology and its related disciplines are prone to "churchspeak" (apologies to George Orwell) and jargon, I have a particular interst in exploring in class how technical discourse can be rendered in everyday language. In 2017, I was appointed to a professorship (NT Mission: sociocultural interpretation) at the Missional University, an on-line institution which is being launched from a centre in the USA (http://missional.university/theologicalstudies/index.php?cID=303).
I have worked with Bishop Maimbo Mndolwa on an article about the Universities Mission to Central Africa in pre- and post-independence Tanganyika (Tanzania).
- Doctor of Theology, University of South Africa
- Master of Arts (Honours), University of St Andrews
- Bachelor of Divinity (Honors), University of Edinburgh - Scotland
- Church History
- New Testament
- Post-Aristotelian Philosophy
- The New Testament
- Swahili (Fluent)
- English (Mother)
- German (Working)
For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.
Book (5 outputs)
|2020||King FJ, Epicureanism and the Gospel of John A Study of their Compatibility, Mohr Siebeck, 241 (2020)|
|2015||King FJ, ISG 51: A Guide to St John's Gospel, SPCK, London, i-xix, 1-300 (2015)|
|2009||King FJ, Opening the Scroll: An Introductory Commentary on the Revelation of John, Lambert Academic Publishing, Koln, Germany, 212 (2009) [A2]|
|Show 2 more books|
Chapter (3 outputs)
Journal article (36 outputs)
King F, 'Across the Great Divide: Higher Criticism, the Writers ofthe New Testament, and African Biblical Interpretation', Mission Studies, 15 13-28 (2020)
© 1998 Brill Academic Publishers. All rights reserved. In this essay, veteran Tanzanian missionary Fergus King reflects on the methodological differences and similarities among Eu... [more]
© 1998 Brill Academic Publishers. All rights reserved. In this essay, veteran Tanzanian missionary Fergus King reflects on the methodological differences and similarities among European and North American "Higher Criticism," New Testament Christological biblical interpretation, and contemporary African biblical interpretation. On the one hand there seems to exist a "Great Divide" that separates each method from the other: Higher Criticism emphasizes the original meaning of the text, the New Testament is unabashedly Christological in its scriptural reading, and Africans, while Christological in interpretation-and so similar to New Testament interpreters-are wedded to the exact scriptural text in ways that their predecessors in the early church were not. However, reflects King, there are ways across this "Great Divide." If each method of interpretation would listen to the other, each would find much to overcome some of its evident weaknesses and complement its reading of God's Word.
King FJ, 'Betrayal or Blasphemy? "Handing over" God's Agent in the Portrayals of Judas in the Gospels', BIBLICAL THEOLOGY BULLETIN, 49 223-230 (2019) [C1]
King FJ, Selvendran S, 'Rhubarb, Rhubarb, Alleluia, Amen: Xenolalia, Glossolalia, and Neurophysiology', Biblical Theology Bulletin, 49 88-95 (2019) [C1]
© 2019 Biblical Theology Bulletin Inc. This article puts forward the proposition that the twin phenomena of ecstatic language identified in Acts 2 and 1 Corinthians 14 should not ... [more]
© 2019 Biblical Theology Bulletin Inc. This article puts forward the proposition that the twin phenomena of ecstatic language identified in Acts 2 and 1 Corinthians 14 should not be conflated into a single behavior: speaking in tongues. It is argued the two NT accounts describe two distinct practices: xenolalia (Acts 2) and glossolalia (1 Corinthians 14). Furthermore, when their differences are recognized, this distinction is supported by evidence from neuroscience that different cognitive and neural functions are involved in the two phenomena as depicted: neurophysiological research confirms the difference between the Pentecost experience described in Acts, and the spiritual gifts of the Pauline texts.
King FJ, 'A Funny Thing Happened on The Way to the Parable: The Steward, Tricksters and (Non)sense in Luke 16:1 8', Biblical Theology Bulletin, 48 18-25 (2018) [C1]
© 2018, © 2018 Biblical Theology Bulletin Inc. The parable of the Steward (Luke 16:1¿8) has long vexed interpreters. Central to its difficulty is how the behaviour of a steward id... [more]
© 2018, © 2018 Biblical Theology Bulletin Inc. The parable of the Steward (Luke 16:1¿8) has long vexed interpreters. Central to its difficulty is how the behaviour of a steward identified variously as ¿dishonest¿ or ¿unjust¿ can stand as an exemplary figure. Previous attempts to resolve this issue have included studies which have identified the Steward as a slave, and compared him to figures who appear in literary studies (the Trickster) and the Comedy of the ancient world (the servus fallax or callidus). However, these have failed to realize fully the moral ambiguity offered by these literary types. When set in the fictive world of moral ambiguity and subversion that they represent, it becomes easier to see how the Steward, with all the subversion he brings, becomes an exemplary model of discipleship. His financial chicanery will mirror the unorthodoxy of reconciliation that is lived out by Jesus of Nazareth.
King FJ, 'Pleasant places in the gospel according to John: A classical motif as introit to theological awareness', PACIFICA, 30 3-19 (2017) [C1]
|2016||King FJ, ''Fencing the Altar': Jesus, judas and Eucharistic Discipline', Compass: A Review of Topical Theology, 50 30-38 (2016) [C1]|
Mndolwa MW, King FJ, 'In Two Minds? African Experience and Preferment in umca and the Journey to Independence in Tanganyika', Mission Studies, 33 327-351 (2016) [C1]
King FJ, 'Revelation 21:1-22:5. An early Christian locus amoenus?', Biblical Theology Bulletin, 45 174-183 (2015) [C1]
© Biblical Theology Bulletin Inc. The visions of the Heavenly Jerusalem (Revelation 21) have a utopian feel. In this article I suggest that ancient writers from a Graeco-Roman bac... [more]
© Biblical Theology Bulletin Inc. The visions of the Heavenly Jerusalem (Revelation 21) have a utopian feel. In this article I suggest that ancient writers from a Graeco-Roman background might have read these visions through the lens of the locus amoenus (pleasant place) - a utopian prototype. While associated primarily with vision poetry, the motif also served wider theological and philosophical purposes in the late Roman Republic and early Imperial periods and had spread beyond purely literary confines. The genre also engaged with philosophical, theological and eschatological themes. Thus engaging with Revelation 21 as a locus amoenus, as a contextually appropriate form, may have served as a jumping-off point into the less familiar realms of Judaic eschatological symbolism. Lastly, it is suggested that the appearance of the motif within what would become the Scriptures of emerging Christianity may provide a reason for the later more explicit developments of the genre in patristic writing.
King FJ, 'Lex orandi, lex credendi: worship and doctrine in Revelation 4 5', Scottish Journal of Theology, 67 33-49 (2014) [C1]
|2014||King FJ, 'More Than a Vapid Sound: The Case for a Hermeneutic of Resonance', Journal for Theology in Southern Africa, 148 83-98 (2014) [C1]|
|2013||King FJ, ''In hoc signo': A literary and social analysis of Constantine's dream', St Mark's Review, 16-26 (2013) [C1]|
|2013||King FJ, ''Deep change or slow death': Johannine Critique and Ignatian Resolution', Compass: a review of topical theology, 47 22-29 (2013) [C1]|
|2012||King FJ, ''Pointing the Bone': Sorcery Syndrome and Uncanny Death in Acts 5:1-11', Irish Biblical Studies, 30 12-34 (2012) [C1]|
|2012||King FJ, ''He descended to the dead': Towards a pastoral strategy for making peace with the living dead', Soma: an International Journal of Theological Discourses and Counter-Discourses, 2-19 (2012) [C1]|
King FJ, 'Mission-Shaped or Paul-Shaped? Apostolic challenges to the Mission-Shaped Church', Journal of Anglican Studies, 9 223-246 (2011) [C1]
|2010||King FJ, '12th December: Third Sunday of Advent: Matthew 11:2-11', Expository Times, 122 86-88 (2010) [C3]|
|2010||King FJ, 'Standing on the shoulders of giants: Re-tuning John O'Neill's theory of the blasphemy charge against Jesus', Irish Biblical Studies, 28 52-77 (2010) [C1]|
|2010||King FJ, ''Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do': Reflections on Luke 23:34a, Kol Nidre and the Atonement', The Australian Journal of Jewish Studies, 24 134-160 (2010) [C1]|
King FJ, ''De Baptista nil nisi bonum': John the Baptist as a paradigm for mission', Mission Studies: Journal of the International Association for Mission Studies, 26 173-191 (2009) [C1]
King FJ, 'A Ministry Shaped By Mission', MISSION STUDIES, 24 347-348 (2007)
King F, 'Travesty or taboo?: "Drinking blood" and Revelation 17:2-6', Neotestamentica, 38 154-175 (2004)
The woman on the beast (Rev 17: 2-6) is often assumed to drink blood, breaking a taboo of the ancient world. This paper argues that the imagery rather suggests a travesty of the e... [more]
The woman on the beast (Rev 17: 2-6) is often assumed to drink blood, breaking a taboo of the ancient world. This paper argues that the imagery rather suggests a travesty of the eucharist. Linguistic, literary and conceptual patterns in Rev all raise the possibility that her depiction holding a cup of blood is a travesty of eucharistic actions. The major objection to this is whether it might be acceptable to consider one eucharistic action, the cup, as "drinking blood". The study suggests that such imagery might be acceptable within Jesus' programme of cultic reform. Objections to the use of the phrase "drinking blood" in John 6 are limited in scope and, anyway, suggest that the phrase, though difficult, had become acceptable to the Johannine community. The woman's idolatry can be presented as a eucharistic travesty which would not be offensive to contemporary understandings of the rite.
King F, 'Theological education and mission', Mission Studies, 19 77-88 (2002) [C1]
In this article, veteran Tanzania missionary Fergus King reflects on the connection between mission and theological education. "Mission" is primarily God's mission,... [more]
In this article, veteran Tanzania missionary Fergus King reflects on the connection between mission and theological education. "Mission" is primarily God's mission, participation in which is constitutive of the church's very nature. In today's debate, "theological education" is pulled between a commitment to a more "holistic" approach (paideia) and a more academic approach (Wissenschaft), and while it needs both it also must take into account local context: location, culture, language and worldview. When context is taken into account, theological education cannot but be mission-oriented, since its goal becomes an education that aims at a faithful and relevant communication of the gospel to fellow Christians and non-Christians, both locally and universally. King concludes with some reflections on the nature of theological authority: ultimately authority resides in the entire church, past and present. Theological education, therefore, is aimed at all Christians, at whatever level they find themselves. © 2002 BRILL.
King F, 'Inculturation & the book of Revelation', Mission Studies, 18 24-40 (2001) [C1]
For some, couching theology in contemporary (and non-Christian) terms can seem to be a theological method which is novel and dangerous. By examining the book of Revelation, we can... [more]
For some, couching theology in contemporary (and non-Christian) terms can seem to be a theological method which is novel and dangerous. By examining the book of Revelation, we can see that John (the writer responsible for recording the visions of Revelation) has used elements from pagan and magical language and symbolism to develop his theology. This method does not compromise his message, but rather enhances it. He further shows that it is possible to use very alien elements in the construction of a faithful theology. In his boldness, John anticipates and gives a biblical precendent for the theological message known currently as inculturation. © 2001 BRILL.
|Show 33 more journal articles|
Review (35 outputs)
|2015||King FJ, 'Clothing the Body of Christ at Colossae: A Visual Construction of Identity (2015) [C3]|
|2015||King FJ, 'Unless Someone Shows Me: English Grammar for Students of Biblical Languages', Colloquium (2015) [C3]|
|2015||King FJ, 'The Original Bishops: Office and Order in the First Christian Communities', Colloquium (2015) [C3]|
|2015||King FJ, 'Seven Events which Shaped the New Testament World', Colloquium (2015) [C3]|
|2014||King FJ, 'Church History: Five Approaches to a Global Discipline', Colloquium (2014) [C3]|
|2014||King FJ, 'Five Uneasy Pieces: Essays on Scripture and Sexuality', Colloquium (2014) [C3]|
|2013||King FJ, 'Greco-Roman Culture and the New Testament: Studies Commemorating the Centennial of the Pontifical Biblical Institute', Colloquium (2013) [C3]|
|2012||King FJ, 'The Matter of the Text: Material Engagements Between Luke and the Five Senses [Book review]', Colloquium (2012) [C3]|
King FJ, 'To the Jew First: The Case for Jewish Evangelism in Scripture and History [Book Review]', Mission Studies (2012) [C3]
King FJ, 'Encountering Theology of Mission: Biblical Foundations, Historical Developments, and Contemporary Issues [Book review]', Mission Studies (2012) [C3]
|2011||King FJ, 'African Theology on the Way: Current Conversations, SPCK International Study Guide No. 46 [Book Review]', Theology (2011) [C3]|
King FJ, 'Review: Gallagher, Robert L. and Hertig, Paul. Landmark essays in mission and world Christianity', Mission Studies (2011) [C3]
|2010||King FJ, 'African and European readers of the Bible in dialogue: In quest of a shared meaning', Mission Studies (2010) [C3]|
|2010||King FJ, 'Leading cross-culturally: Covenant relationships for effective Christian leadership', Mission Studies (2010) [C3]|
|2010||King FJ, 'Jesus: A portrait', Mission Studies (2010) [C3]|
|2010||King FJ, 'SCM studyguide to Christian mission: Historic types and contemporary expressions', Mission Studies (2010) [C3]|
|2009||King FJ, 'The ministry of the Missional Church: A commentary led by the spirit', Mission Studies: Journal of the International Association for Mission Studies (2009) [C3]|
King FJ, 'The living dead and the living god: Christ and the ancestors in a changing Africa', Mission Studies: Journal of the International Association for Mission Studies (2009) [C3]
King FJ, 'The mission-driven parish', Mission Studies: Journal of the International Association for Mission Studies (2009) [C3]
King FJ, 'How Africa shaped the Christian mind: Rediscovering the African seedbed of western Christianity', Mission Studies: Journal of the International Association for Mission Studies (2009) [C3]
|Show 32 more reviews|
Number of supervisions
|Commenced||Level of Study||Research Title||Program||Supervisor Type|
|2016||PhD||The Matthean Jesus as Educator: Implications for Contemporary Theory and Practice||PhD (Education), College of Human and Social Futures, The University of Newcastle||Co-Supervisor|
|Year||Level of Study||Research Title||Program||Supervisor Type|
|2017||PhD||Judas Iscariot, Betrayal and Idolatry||PhD (Religious Studies), College of Human and Social Futures, The University of Newcastle||Principal Supervisor|
Rev. Fergus King
Conjoint Senior Lecturer
Philosophy, Religion & Theology
School of Humanities and Social Science
College of Human and Social Futures
Philosophy, Religion and Theology
|Phone||No office. No phone......|
|Fax||(02) 4921 6933, but I've never used it|
|Room||No Office at Callaghan. A wandering Aberdonian|
Callaghan, NSW 2308