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Durham University

Department of Theology and Religion

Profiles

Mr Benjamin G. White, MATS (Regent), BES (Waterloo)

PhD Student & Research Assistant in the Department of Theology and Religion

Contact Mr Benjamin G. White (email at benjamin.g.white@durham.ac.uk)

Current Activity

In addition to placing the finishing touches on my PhD thesis, I am the coorganizer of an international conference entitled 'Closing the Gap: Best Practices for Integrating Historical and Theological Exegesis' that is due to take place in Durham on June 18-19, 2018. This conference will bring together twelve experienced scholars to discuss the practical reasoning and principles that guide their interpretations of Scripture. Our hope is that students will especially benefit from the sessions, which will aim to de-mystify the interpretive relationship between theology and history and offer examples of how one might employ a theological hermeneutic.

I am also the co-editor, with my supervisor John MG Barclay, of a volume of collected essays on the comparison of the New Testament with other ancient documents (due in 2019, T&T Clark/Continuum).

Research Topic

Thesis: The Transformative Function of the Strength in Weakness Paradox in 2 Corinthians

My research on 2 Corinthians explores the connection between the pain created by Paul's previous visit and letter (2.1-10) and his extensive discourses on weakness and suffering (e.g. 12.9-10). This produces a fresh perspective on the meaning of Paul's proclamation of strength in weakness, which I describe as a 'transformative' reading as opposed to the prevailing ontological and revelatory interpretations. My work holds significant implications for how one understands the situation in Corinth and the theology of the strength in weakness paradox, as well as the broader purpose of 2 Corinthians and its literary integrity. The collective result is a paradigm shift in the modern interpretation of 2 Corinthians, shifting our understanding of the letter from a confrontational apologetic to a more consolatory, pastoral letter.

Theological Interests

Being inspired by the great theologians and exegetes of the Christian tradition, my main interest is understanding the gospel in its first century context and how it speaks to us today. I have a broad array of interests that span biblical hermeneutics and interpretation to Christian theology, pedagogy and preaching. But my academic expertise lies primarily in Pauline Studies, the New Testament, and Biblical Studies more broadly, as well as some aspects of Reformation Theology.

I was recently named a Fellow of the Center for Pastor Theologians (based in Chicago, USA). 

Publications

Book review

  • White, B.G. (2017). Review of "Atonement for a Sinless Society" by Alan Mann. Reviews in Religion & Theology (forthcoming).
  • White, B.G. (2017). Review of "Destroyer of the Gods: Early Christian Distinctiveness in the Roman World" by Larry Hurtado. Themelios (forthcoming).
  • White, B.G. (2017). Review of "The Crosses of Pompeii: Jesus-Devotion in a Vesuvian Town" by Bruce Longenecker. Westminster Theological Journal (forthcoming).
  • White, B.G. (2017). Review of "The Murderous History of Bible Translations: Power, Conflict, and the Quest for Meaning" by Harry Freedman. Reviews in Religion & Theology (January 2017).
  • White, B.G. (2016). Review of "Paul and the Trinity: Persons, Relations, and the Pauline Letters" by Wesley Hill. Reviews in Religion & Theology (October 2016).
  • White, B.G. (2016). Review of "The Pastor as Public Theologian: Reclaiming a Lost Vision" by Kevin J. Vanhoozer and Owen Strachan. Reviews in Religion & Theology (August 2016).

Conference Paper

  • White, B.G. (2017), Exploring Pauline Paradox: The Relationship Between Strength and Weakness in 2 Corinthians, SBL International Meeting. Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
  • White, B.G. (2017), The Situational Origin of the Strength in Weakness Paradox: Relational Pain in 2 Corinthians 2.1-7 and the Interpretation of 12.9-10, SBL Annual Meeting. Boston, USA.
  • White, B.G. (2016), An Apologia or Pastoral Epistle? Reflections on Paul's Purpose in 2 Corinthians, Joint Postgraduate Conference (Durham, Manchester, St Andrews). Durham University, Durham, England.
  • White, B.G. (2016), The Problem of Pain: Paul's Use of Λυπ- Words in 2 Corinthians and Its Implications for the Purpose and Integrity of the Epistle, British New Testament Conference. University of Chester, Chester, England.
  • White, B.G. (2016), What does Heidelberg have to do with Corinth? An Appraisal of Luther's Glory/Cross Contrast Using 2 Corinthians 4:7-15, Exploring the Glory of God: Biblical, Theological and Aesthetic Perspectives. St. John's College, Durham, England.

Newspaper/Magazine Article

  • (2015). A Father for the Romans. Christianity Today
  • (2015). Why Christian Classics Matter. Faith Today May/June 2015.