New book by MLitt alumna – Rachel Welcher

Welcher - Talking Back to Purity Culture, cover imageRachel Joy Welcher (MLitt, 2018) will be publishing Talking Back to Purity Culture Rediscovering Faithful Christian Sexuality in November 2020.

Rachel’s book has its genesis in her MLitt dissertation she wrote as part of this programme.  Her publisher, InverVarsity Press, describe this significant contribution to pastoral and practical theology:

The generation born into evangelical purity culture has grown up, and many have started families of their own. But as time goes on, it’s becoming more evident that many still struggle with purity culture’s complicated legacy—its idolization of virginity, its mixed messages about modesty and lust, and its promise of a healthy marriage and great sex for those who follow the rules.

In Talking Back to Purity Culture, Rachel Joy Welcher reviews the movement carefully, examining its teachings through the lens of Scripture. Compassionate, faithful, and wise, she charts a path forward for evangelicals in the ongoing debates about sexuality—one that rejects legalism and license alike, steering us back instead to the good news of Jesus.

We congratulate Rachel on this achievement and look forward to its publication on 10 November 2020.

New book by MLitt alumnus

Cover of The Law of FreedomDaniel Rentfro jr (MLitt, 2016) has published The Law of Freedom: Justice and Mercy in the Practice of Law. 

Daniel examines the legal and theological roots of the concept of equity, and the implications that the diminishment of equity as a legal concept has for the moral dilemmas faced by the practicing lawyer. Meditating on the book of Micah, the book argues that the Christian duty asks for both strict justice and gracious mercy, with the prophet’s third value—humility—essential for both the individual lawyer and the legal system as a whole to balance strict justice and mercy.

Daniel Rentfro jr is a practicing lawyer in South Texas and, in his role as an honorary research assistant in the School of Divinity, University of St Andrews, he is the managing Editor of our online journal, Bible and the Contemporary World.

We congratulate Daniel on developing his MLitt dissertation into this monograph. Eric Stoddart, programme director, has written a foreword to the book. You can read his foreword and other extracts of the book online via the ‘look inside’ option on the publisher’s website.

The Warriors Who Do Not Fight, by Alison Swinfen and Tawona Sitholé – new book from Wild Goose Publications

The Warriors Who Do Not Fight - coverAlison Phipps (Swinfen) (UNESCO Chair in Refugee Integration through Languages and the Arts; Professor of Languages and Intercultural Studies at the University of Glasgow; and Co-Convener of Glasgow Refugee, Asylum and Migration Network) and her colleagues Tawona Sitholé (a Zimbabwean writer and musician and Poet in Residence with the UNESCO Chair programme), and Gameli Tordzro (artist in residence at the University of Glasgow) gave a presentation at our Study Week in January 2019 for ‘The Bible and Contemporary Issues’ module.


Alison and Tawona have published a conversation in poetry, The Warriors Who Do Not Fight 

Natasha O’Hear, ‘Picturing the Apocalypse’

O'Hear Picturing the ApocalypseNatasha O’Hear gave a guest lecture at the study week for our module, ‘The Book of Revelation’ in September 2017. We congratulate Natasha and her co-author Anthony O’Hear on the recognition of their book Picturing the Apocalypse (Oxford University Press) afforded by The Art+ChristianityEnquiry ACE/Mercers’ Book Award. It is the only literary prize worldwide for a publication that notably advances a public understanding of the relationship between the visual arts and religious experience, beliefs and practice.

Richard Bauckham, ‘The Bible in the Contemporary World’

Bauckham, Bible in the Contemporary WorldRichard Bauckham was one of the originators of our distance learning MLitt programme whilst he was a professor here at St Andrews.

This book by Bauckham proposes reading the Bible as a coherent story. He shows his method in means of chapters connecting the Bible to, for example, issues of autonomy, globalisation, and ecoological concerns. Bauckham defends his approach with a sophisticated discussion of relating the Bible and culture.


Andrew Rogers, ‘Congregational Hermeneutics…’

Andrew Rogers, Congregational HermeneuticsAndrew Rogers has given a guest lecture at two of our study weeks (September 2015 and January 2017).

The students have valued his insights into how people are actually reading the Bible. Understanding more about the ways congregations interpret Scripture is an important contribution to thinking through how the Bible and the contemporary world connect.

Rogers’ work helps to keep discussions in our programme grounded.

Zoë Bennett, ‘Using the Bible in Practical Theology’

Using the Bible in Practical TheologyZoë Bennett gave a guest lecture at our study week in January 2014 where she introduced some of the key themes of her, then, new book.

I recommend this book to anyone looking to connect the Bible to contemporary issues. She juxtaposes 21st century practical theology with the work of leading nineteenth-century public ‘theologian’, John Ruskin. Better known to many for his contribution as an art critic, Bennett offers a fascinating analysis of his method of deploying the Bible in public issues. This leads to a very helpful discussion of how Christian commentators might develop their own use of biblical materials.