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What people have been saying recently...
This whole scenario is so incredible, given the Department's international renown, that I can't help wondering if there is a hidden PC agenda behind this clearly manipulated attack. The increasing secularisation of society within the European Union is already causing the marginalisation, and active disapproval, of biblically-based beliefs and values, and, even though the Department's approach to biblical studies is non-sectarian and multi-disciplinary, is it possible that the Bible's Judeo-Christian associations render it unacceptable in the present political climate? Could it be that this is part, at least, of the University's problem with Biblical Studies? (And if so, might other similar departments - theology, religious studies etc., also be at risk?)
-Val Taylor, current PG, Sheffield
Shocked. As a 1980s Manchester theology graduate I had tons of respect for the Sheffield biblical studies course.
What good argument is there for closing down excellence?
- Gary, NZ
I studied in the 'Bibs' dept in my first year at Sheffield University in 1972. It was, and has remained, a brilliant hub of academic excellence. I have a friend who works there and I know it has continued to have significant impact on global biblical studies. I am disappointed that my old uni could act in such a high handed way so far. The lack of consultation is apalling, and I wish all protesters and campaigners the very best outcome in this.
- Karren Oliffe
We are shocked to learn that the University is considering closing the Biblical Studies Dept.
-Austin & May Torrington
I can't believe what I'm hearing. The department has internationally known faculty members and has been training undergraduate and postgraduate students for decades. The closure would not only affect present under- and postgraduates, but those of us who obtained Ph.D.'s and have gone on to academic positions throughout the world (Canada, U.S., Australia, etc.). The closure of the department, I fear, would cast doubt on the integrity of our degrees. How can the university be so short-sighted as to close another arts department, just because it is not lucrative enough, when international postgraduates are often drawn to studying in Britain because of arts programs (like I did)?
- Rev. Nancy Calvert-Koyzis, Ph.D.
Having this week received from the university a letter asking for donations, I am rather taken aback by this most distressing news. How on earth does the University expect to gain the support of its alumni if it is behaving in this manner?
- Maurice Gledhill
This is a damn shame. Sheffield shaped my thinking and landed me my present post. My PhD from the dpt allowed me to penned numerous books for Chinese studies reading biblical studies. Whoever came up with this closing needs his head examined. Seriously!
Associate Prof. of New Testament
Hong Kong Baptist Theological Seminary NT Dpt.
I have a PhD in Biblical Studies from Sheffield. My degree has opened all sorts of opportunities for me because anybody who knows anything about the discipline knows that Sheffield has been at the cutting edge. Itâ€™s where innovation happens. Its publishing ventures are known world-wide. Its scholars are recognised internationally. Professor Emeritus David Clines is currently President of the Society of Biblical Literature â€“ the pre-eminent international scholarly society. The effective closure of this department would be an act of academic vandalism. What is the point of saving some money if the larger cost is the loss of a reputation? The whole notion is absolute madness.
- Dr Laurence Turner
The Department of Biblical Studies is one the world-leading departments of its kind. It scored highly in the recent RAE and is esteemed throughout the world.
Threatening it with closure does not make sense if Sheffield really is a 'research-led' university.
- Dr David Cheetham,
Dept. of Theology and Religion,
Birmingham University, UK
The department of Biblical Studies undergrad program at the University of Sheffield is presently in peril of being closed (though the research students are not in danger)! I received word of this horror today and am simply gobsmacked. The Department is one of the finest in the UK with a fantastic reputation around the world- staffed, as it is, by many of the leading scholars of the field.
- Dr Jim West, Author and Biblical Scholar
I am shocked and horrified that the University should even consider shutting down such a productive, effective and creative depatment. I graduated from here about 28 years ago but I'm writing in support not because of past affections, but because the department remains at the vital cutting edge of the discipline. If it was a department of Islamic studied would they do this?
- The Revd John Hudghton
The department of Biblical Studies in University of Sheffield has a very good reputation worldwide. To shut down one of the leading institutions in its field would be a grave mistake for a university that seeks to attain academic excellency.
- Dr Tommy Wasserman
As a Divinity student at Edinburgh University, I would be absolutely shocked and disappointed to see this precious and extremely valuable discipline lost at Sheffield University. Everyone has hit hard times recently but there must be some way of keeping the department open.
- Jack Shepherd
I have already written this post at several forums, but I feel so saddened by the recent news that I just feel the need to voice my concern in any forum that I can.
Though I am no longer at the University, I consider the time I spent at the department to have been some of the most educationally beneficial period of my young academic life. The sheer passion of all members of this department is truly inspirational and unparalleled to any other department I have encountered, not to mention the its unquestionably crucial contributions to the field of Biblical Studies.
The very best of luck to all of you, especially those of you still studying and still working at the department.
Since all of the most important questions of life are ultimately questions of theology... how foolish to abandon the study of the sourcebook of that subject. Abandon it in favour of what? 'Practical' subjects? (And I'm an engineer...)
- Colin McCulloch MA, MSc, CEng
I owe many things to the 'Bibs' department, ranging from meeting my wife there, to the superb education which I received at the hands of the first class teaching staff.
- Simon Woodman
I have been shocked to read reports that the University is considering closing the Biblical Studies department.
- Tim Bulkeley