Andrew McGowan | Ancient Christian Worship: Early Church Practices in Social, Historical, and Theological Perspective
Andrew McGowan was appointed Dean of the Berkeley Divinity School in 2014. An Anglican priest and historian, his scholarly work focuses on the life of early Christian communities, and on aspects of contemporary Anglicanism. Professor McGowan’s project of re-describing early eucharistic practice in relation to ancient food and meals is found in Ascetic Eucharists: Food and Drink in Early Christian Ritual Meals (Oxford, 1999) and in subsequent articles and chapters produced in conversation with members of the Meals in the Greco-Roman World group of the Society of Biblical Literature. His most recent book, Ancient Christian Worship (Baker Academic, 2014) seeks to describe discursive and ritual practice in the ancient Church, including use of music and speech as well as sacramental ritual, and to acknowledge the diversity of early Christian belief and practice. He is currently working on how early Christian and other ancient Mediterranean groups used, changed, and created notions of sacrifice.
Rev. Dean McGowan: “There’s nothing radical about saying that Evangelicals should read the Bible in its ancient context, even while affirming that it still speaks today in fresh ways. There’s no reason to say that to have a better understanding of ancient culture and society would not enhance the sense in which we understand what the letter to the Hebrews was saying when it was first written, or what the revelation to John was saying when it was first written…If Scripture is the founding and final authority, you still have to ask, What interpretive lenses do we use to read Scripture?”
Producer: Anastasia Hall
Background music: Brice Niemond
Interviewer: Jonathan Armstrong