Reading the New Testament in Australia: an historical account of the origins, development and influence of D. W. B. Robinson's Biblical Scholarship
thesisposted on 29.03.2022, 03:35 by Rory James Wilson Shiner
This thesis explores the origins, development,and influence of the thought of Australian scholar and churchman D. W. B. Robinson (1922-). Much of the historiography in which Robinson appears has struggled to account for the complexity of his ideas. He is sometimes presented as a straight-forward conservative, committed to prohibiting modern developments such as the ordination of women. On the other hand, those who knew his New Testament work are more likely to see him as a radical-someone whose original insights into the scriptures suggested new and innovative patterns of church and ministry. The complexities of grasping Robinson are further shaped by a career in two distinct halves: first as a scholar (1947-1972) and secondly as a bishop (1973-1993).I will argue that Robinson's scholarly work was the product of a synthesis between three main sources: classical evangelicalism, engagement with leading post-war biblical scholars at Cambridge,and a deep grasp of the Anglican liturgical inheritance, understood by Robinson as the tradition of Reformed Catholicism. It was these three strands, allowed to flourish and develop in the particular conditions of post-war Sydney, that shaped his distinctive approach to scripture-an approach at once radical and conservative. When a comprehensive account of Robinson's thought is established, many of the tensions between scholar and bishop are relieved, and a more integrated picture emerges. The thesis concludes by demonstrating that Donald Robinson's scholarship has exerted a profound influence on the way scripture is read, taught, preached,and studied by Sydney Anglicans and more widely. I will contend that, alongside D. B. Knox, the approach of D. W. B. Robinson to scripture has been the essential shaping influence on modern Sydney Anglican theology, decisively contributing to a complex and dynamic theological tradition.