Saturday, February 13, 2010


"Once a year the reputation of Germans as an orderly, obedient, sober, rational and humourless people gets severely damaged. The time of year in question is known as the 'fifth season' and people everywhere go barking mad, so it seems"

So starts a BBC article on the seasonal German carnival! It's a bit rough really. I wonder why the German's have got this reputation? It isn't true.

Today I met Prince Charles ... almost

Or more precisely, I didn't meet him at all ... but I was in the same room as His Royal Highness for close on 2 hours! And almost spoke to him. Fame! I was on a list of people to introduce to the Prince, but there were plenty of others to talk to first. I believe I was to be introduced as the one 'who has recently obtained a PhD'. I was not sure what I would say if he asked 'what did I write about?'.

*Prince approaches Chris*

*Tilling bows vigorously and tries to remember whether he should say 'Your Highness' or 'Your Majesty', but then remembers the Blackadder episode where the Prince keeps saying 'Your Highness, Your Highness', so sticks with 'Your Highness' and hopes for the best*

'Tis about Pauline Christology ... Your Highness'

*Royal blank look*

*Tilling gets nervous Prince is starting to wish he had not asked*

'...a new way of tackling the divine-Christology debate, sir*

*Prince's eyes start looking for someone else*

'... building on and critically responding to Jimmy Dunn, Larry Hurtado, William Horbury, Gordon Fee and such like. Your Highness'.

*Prince finds some polite and regal way of saying a 'Riiiiiiight - Next!'*

Yea, probably best this conversation didn't happen. Besides, there were plenty of better looking, funnier, more intelligent, popular and wittier people to impress the future King of England.

Why did I almost meet him? He was there to get a taste of the St Mellitus phenomenon, and he seemed to have enjoyed himself. I think we all had fun! And it was good to catch up with Paula Gooder.

Here is our own official St Mellitus report, with loads of pictures.

Finally, this is one of the Prince meeting some of our students!

Picture: Chris Jackson, Getty Images Europe (

Monday, February 08, 2010

Dr Tilling

I had my Viva a few days ago. Steve Walton and Larry Hurtado, my examiners, scrutinized my thesis thoroughly, yet happily it was accepted with only minor corrections. Now I will become Dr Chris Tilling, I trust all you plebs out there will finally start treating me with a bit of awe and respect!

I have really enjoyed writing my thesis, and I think it makes a decent contribution to the whole Pauline divine-Christology debate. I can now think about getting my work published. Indeed, I think the whole area of Pauline Christology, especially as it impinges on the divine-Christology debate, needs fresh impulse.

Actually, my Viva has got me considering what sort of qualities the future of NT research needs to cultivate. Courage is now right near the top of my list - it takes guts to challenge the views of established authority figures. I think the best of NT scholarship will also develop and encourage a broader vision, one that grasps significance beyond lexical studies and syntactical analysis and dares to look also into related epistemological factors, ontology, interweaving theological themes etc. In many ways, Doug Campbell's The Deliverance of God, represents the sort of work that will move NT research forward.

Without, of course, forgetting all of the necessary ingredients (such as diligence, care, language proficiency etc.), what qualities do you think the next 50 years of NT scholarship needs to develop, to advance debates?