Friar Bruno has settled in Jerusalem for a few months. Indeed, the École Biblique has called upon him as a “chercheur invité” to give a course on his research, entitled “Contextualizing the book of Judges: an approach to meaning”. Meet him!
Can you introduce yourself ?
I am fr Bruno Clifton OP, Vice Regent of the Province of England based in Oxford. I teach Old Testament and Hermeneutics and direct the studies for candidates for the first cycle in Theology. I also teach in the University of Oxford and am an associate fellow of the Faculty of Theology and Religion.
What is your background?
I am from Sussex in the south of England, a town called Arundel. I entered the Dominicans in 2002 and was ordained priest in 2008. I studied at the Biblicum in Rome 2010-2014, before going to the University of Cambridge for my doctorate (2014-2019). Before the Dominicans I studied Music at the conservatoire, Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, England.
What are your areas of research?
My specialization is the Book of Judges and socio-cultural contextualization of biblical texts. I am currently investigating Judg 17-18, issues of migration and the relationship between settlements.
I am also interested in the contribution of Biblical scholarship to Theology. I am looking at what the complexity of biblical versions and authorship means for the doctrine of the divine inspiration of scripture.
It’s not your first time in Jerusalem, but how do you live this new stay ?
Yes indeed it’s my ninth time in Jerusalem. However, I have never stayed for this long period of time before and never before at Easter/Passover or Ramadan. I think that this was the most striking thing – the confrontation of religious festivals and its effect on the daily life of Jerusalem.
How did you spend your free time in Jerusalem?
Mostly, I was doing research in the library. I also took time to explore Jerusalem by walking every day. Most weekends I went out of Jerusalem to explore some sites mentioned in the biblical texts increasing my knowledge and experience of the country and its topography/geography.
What will you remember about your time here?
The truth of the vision of Père M-J Lagrange – that it makes a difference to study the Bible in the Land. Almost every weekend I have visited sites associated with the texts that I am studying to observe the stage on which the biblical stories are played. This is so important to understand what is at stake in the narratives.
And, of course, the EBAF library!