Title: Jewish Lives in the Dictionary of National Biography – From Medieval Norwich to the land of Israel.
Lecturer: Professor Lawrence Goldman, Professor of History at the Institute of Historical Research and Senior Fellow at St Peter’s College, Oxford.
Date: Sunday 25th February at 2.00 p.m.
For further details and tickets – cost £8 per person – contact email@example.com
On 25th July, Rabbi Alexandra Wright gave a well-attended talk in Norwich Synagogue to an audience of both Jewish communities and diverse Christian communities.
We are lucky enough to have +David Gillett on our committee and we took this opportunity to take their photograph with the excellent book to which they both contributed, “Deep Calls to Deep”.
Early Christianity in Britain
Following the 2017 AGM of the Norfolk branch of the CCJ, we were entertained with a short presentation entitled Early Christianity in Britain by one of our local members, Stephen Pank. His fascinating talk covered the period from the Crucifixion to Edward the Confessor and introduced us to the key historical (and mythical) figures who played a role in bringing Christianity to this island.
Its arrival is first cited in the enduring legend of Joseph of Arimathea and the Holy Grail. Around this time, Saint Paul appointed Aristobulus as the first Bishop of Britain and in 43 CE, the Roman Emperor Claudius successfully invaded Britain, ostensibly to rid it of Druidism and Christianity.
The stories of King Lucius of Silures, the first British King to be recognised as Christian by the Roman Church and St Alban, the first British martyr, date from the late second century CE.
Around 312 CE Christianity was adopted formally by the Roman Emperor Constantine whose mother Helen was, according to some legends, the daughter of Coel, a prominent Welsh leader. After the Sack of Rome in 410 CE, Christians in Britain were left at the mercy of the invading Picts and Saxons. The Venerable Bede records that Ethelbert was the first Anglo-Saxon King to convert to Christianity around the time that Saint Augustine was sent to Britain to convert the pagans to Christianity by Pope Gregory (590-604 CE).
Stephen showed us slides of the stunning Lindisfarne Gospels and other beautiful manuscripts, including the Book of Durrow and the Book of Kells which date from the golden age of Saxon illuminated manuscripts between 650-800 CE.
We learnt about the Christian King Canute (1016-1035 CE) and his influence within the Holy Roman Empire and how, in 1042 CE, Edward the Confessor restored the rule of the House of Wessex to the English throne. Reputedly a pious and Godly man, he appears to have left the running of the country to Earl Godwin and Harold, Godwin’s son. And we know what happened after that of course!
We are very grateful to Stephen for providing us with such an informative and concise history of the arrival of Christianity in Britain and for leaving us all more knowledgeable on the subject.
Since taking the Chair of the Norfolk branch, I have thought that there were two areas which had been skirted around for too long, one of which was theological difference.
When Steve began, “I’m going to take three texts from the New Testament…”, my husband thought, ‘I wonder how this is going to go……’! Thanks to his wise, scholarly and encouraging manner it went very well indeed and everyone, including our Jewish members engaged with the texts with open and enquiring minds and were really interested in everything you had to say. So much so that I have been asked to include Scriptural Reasoning in our forthcoming programme; the Committee and I are really pleased.
Steve Innes with Jill Gower, our branch secretary and Director of the House of Prayer, where he spoke on difficult texts on 28th June.
Take a look CCJ Norfolk’s media coverage in EPD24: Video and photo gallery: Norwich Holocaust service’s message of unity.
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