Welcome to Olem! This is a blog exploring Christian theology, archaeology and science and the links between them. The name Olem comes from a Hebrew word found in Ecclesiastes 3, which means ‘that which transcends time’ and ‘the remotest time past’, which seemed to sum up what I was trying to explore in this blog. I talk more about this on the blog name page.
The posts are written by me, Rev Dr Graham Rutter, an ordained minster of the Church of England and sometime archaeologist. I have a PhD in Near Eastern Archaeology and Geochemistry and am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy. I am Tutor and Lecturer in Old Testament at St Mellitus theological college, North West and Assistant Minister at Christ Church Aughton. Previously I was a vicar and Area Dean in south Derbyshire. I am (still) attempting to start some research on Amos and have an MTh, for which my dissertation was The role of wonder in theological anthropology (I’ve given a talk on this at Greenbelt).
A reminder that you can follow this blog and also follow me on twitter: @gprutter
The photo in the header image is one I took a few years ago, looking over Ullswater from Keldas. The blog icon (right), that you might see around the site, is an image from my PhD research – a rock with a couple of very small crystals forming the shape of a cross. That seems to sum up this blog! To be technical, it’s a couple of olivine crystals in a thin section of a sample of basanite rock from near the Dead Sea in cross-polarised light.
If you’ve just come across this blog, then here are some posts that you might find interesting (and which sum up the sort of thing I post about). They are a mix of posts I wrote some time ago and newer ones. I’ll alter the list every so often!
- Women speaking. Understanding how women were expected to behave in the Roman world helps us understand Paul’s letters better…
- Translating Acts 16:34. Exploring the problems with different translations, the choices that they make, and how this informs discussions on baptism.
- Ecclesiastes. My sermon on this book and why I think it’s important for us.
- Archaeology and the United Monarchy. Radiocarbon dating and King David!
- Ashurbanipal. A review of the British Museum’s exhibition, illuminating an empire and a way of life.
- Joseph and Sinuhe. Exploring how Ancient Egyptian literature can help us understand the Bible better.
Reflections on Science
- Jeremiah and climate change. The importance of responding to the science of climate change.
- Chance or Constraint? A review of Life’s Solution by Simon Conway Morris, arguing that evolution is considerably more constrained than commonly thought.
- Critical realism. This is a way of understanding the world, which is helpful for both science and theology.
In my previous post, one of the local papers, The Burton Mail, asked me to do their interview slot Five minutes with… in 2013. Here are my answers from then. One or two of them need updating, but most of them are still relevant!
Born and bred: Marple Bridge, near Stockport
Hobbies: Walking, reading, swimming, archaeology, messing around on computers.
Favourite book: Lord of the Rings
Favourite film: Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
Favourite food: Curry
Proudest moment: One of the great things about having a young daughter is that there’s now a list of these!
Most embarrassing moment: In this job you need to be good at keeping confidences…!
Biggest inspiration: Flinders Petrie (an early archaeologist), John Polkinghorne (a scientist and theologian), and Indiana Jones…
Hopes for the future: To see my daughter grow, to see Emmanuel church flourish
Biggest/best achievement: Completing my archaeology research
If you ruled the world… we’d be in trouble! The most important problem we are currently facing is global warming – if we don’t sort this soon we will all suffer, but it will be the poorest people in the world who suffer the most. So, I’d start with that.
Pet hate: Paperwork (I have to deal with far too much of it)
Greatest love: My family
Favourite belonging: A plastic crocodile (my wife’s first present to me!)
Perfect night in/out: Film or theatre and a curry
What will your epitaph say: “The last enemy to be destroyed is death.”