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Peter J. Williams

Peter J. Williams is the Principal and CEO of Tyndale House, Cambridge. He was educated at Cambridge University, where he received his MA, MPhil, and PhD in the study of ancient languages related to the Bible. After his PhD, he was on staff in the Faculty of Divinity, Cambridge University (1997–1998), and thereafter taught Hebrew and Old Testament at Cambridge University as Affiliated Lecturer in Hebrew and Aramaic and as Research Fellow in Old Testament at Tyndale House, Cambridge (1998–2003). From 2003 to 2007 he was on the faculty of the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, where he became a Senior Lecturer in New Testament and Deputy Head of the School of Divinity, History, and Philosophy. Since 2007 he has been leading Tyndale House, and he is also an Affiliated Lecturer in the Faculty of Divinity in the University of Cambridge. He is a member of the Translation Oversight Committee of the English Standard Version of the Bible. Most recently he has been assisting Dr Dirk Jongkind in Tyndale House’s production of a major edition of the Greek New Testament.



Can We Trust the Gospels?

This session considers how an argument can be made for the historical reliability of the gospels that is based on easily accessible knowledge, especially from the text of the gospels themselves. It focusses on the knowledge basis shown by the gospel writers and the presence of undesigned coincidences between the different narratives. It also seeks to show how Christians should not take an unwarranted burden of proof in dealing with specific objections, such as alleged contradictions.


Can We Know the Exact Words of Scripture?

Evangelical Christians often identify their supreme authority as the ‘original text’ of the Bible. But haven’t the originals been lost? Isn’t it problematic to adhere to a non-existent authority? And how are we to decide which text to follow when manuscripts disagree? What are we to do when a New Testament quotation seems to differ radically from the Old Testament text it is quoting? This lecture will argue that the classic evangelical understanding of Scripture is robust today and is able to deal with the data of the manuscripts. However, one of the main risks to evangelicals comes through widespread misunderstanding of what they believe. Lazy thinking and confused use of terminology represent major threats to the spread of evangelical approaches today.


Moral Objections to the Old Testament

This session seeks to address four major objections to the morality of the Old Testament: the claims that the Old Testament supports genocide, that it supports slavery, that it is sexist, and that it is homophobic. For the first two significant differences are found between what occurs and is approved of within the biblical texts and the things which people object to under the names of genocide and slavery today. For the second two we confront biblical categories with secular ones and see how, even judged by some secular standards, the biblical categories allow more space for human dignity and flourishing.


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