The Centre, founded in September 2007, seeks to foster research in the field of New Testament Studies within the Department of Texts and Traditions at the Faculty of Religion and Theology of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. It is a vibrant community-of-learners in which research and education go hand in hand. It has an extensive international network as well as a strong local basis. The current steering committee of the Centre consists of Prof. L.J. Lietaert Peerbolte, Prof. B.-P. A. Smit, Dr J.L.H. Krans, and Dr A.W. Zwiep. R.J. van Wingerden, MA, currently serves as its secretary.
In addition to teaching NT courses in the regular Ba and Ma Programs, ACNTS seeks to achieve its objectives primarily in six ways:
(1) Through the post-graduate degree programs of the Faculty of Theology. The one-year Master of Theology (esp. Exploring a Discipline), the two-year Research Master, and doctoral studies (Graduate School). Currently about 20-25 PhD candidates in New Testament studies are being supervised (first supervisions only). MA students (ReMa) and PhD's specializing in New Testament studies participate in ACNTS as part of their mandatory training program and electives. In addition to regular course work, student activities include internships, research projects, and conference organization (transferable skills). The current composition of the staff of ACNTS guarantees a full coverage of the discipline, which makes our program attractive to a wide variety of New Testament candidates (Lietaert Peerbolte: Paul, John, apocalypticism, early Christianity); Krans: NT introduction, textual criticism; Smit: contextual hermeneutics, Paul, biblical theology, canonical criticism; Zwiep: Synoptic studies, historical Jesus, Luke-Acts, research methods in biblical studies, biblical and philosophical hermeneutics).
(2) Through the two-weekly meetings of the Amsterdam New Testament Colloquium (a.k.a. Nieuwtestamentisch Werkgezelschap,) which has been meeting since April, 2005. In the appendix a list of past meetings has been included. Regular participants include PhD students and ReMa students specializing in New Testaments studies and Early Christianity, alumni and emeriti, representatives from PThU, Tyndale Theological Seminary, UvA, UU and Tilburg School of Theology. On average, 15-20 people attend these meetings on a steady basis (the Centre's extended network covers around 120 interested NT students, scholars and alumni). In these meetings work-in-progress of both staff, students and guest lecturers is presented. These meetings are also the place where research proposals for submission to the Doctorate Board (Graduate School) are being presented and discussed.
(3) Through international scholarly publications. The research output (staff members) can be found at the VU Research Portal. Publications cover the whole range from peer-reviewed books and articles at the highest level (academic excellence) to popularizations of scholarly work for a broad audience (valorisation in printed press, media, popular lectures etc.).
(4) Through the participation of its members in international societies for New Testament scholars, especially the Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas (SNTS), the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL), and the European Association of Biblical Studies (EABS). At a national level members participate in the Studiosorum Novi Testamenti Conventus (the national counterpart to SNTS), Lukaswerkplaats (expert meetings of Dutch and Flemish specialists in Luke-Acts), the Dutch Bible Society, etc. ACNTS has an extended and very strong international and national network in the field of Biblical studies.
(5) Through the organization of national and international symposia and conferences. Past highlights include the Baarda-Aland symposium on the occasion of the presentation of Nestle-Aland's Novum Testamentum. In 2015, ACNTS hosted the 71st General Meeting of SNTS and welcomed 350 international guests (members and their partners). Lietaert Peerbolte is also organizer of the PhD Seminar on Biblical Studies (Noster). From 2018, we organize the yearly Tjitze Baarda Memorial Lectures.
(6) Through the provision of hospitality to visiting New Testament scholars. Past researchers-in-residence include: Bernard Lategan (Stellenbosch), Rodney Werline (Barton College, NC), Francis Watson (Durham University, UK), Coleen Shantz (University of Toronto). Recent visiting New Testament scholars include Desta Heliso (Ethiopian Graduate School of Theology, Addis Abeba), Jennifer Knust (Boston University).
The Centre has no budget of its own and tries to be self-supportive. Most of the activities are realized within the regular formation of staff. Training activities, research projects and internships are integral parts of the regular training programs of the faculty. From 2018 onwards part of the budget of the Department of Texts and Traditions will be available for the activities of ACNTS. Other sources of income are grants and subsidies.
- NWO Project on Conjectural Emendation (Lietaert Peerbolte, Krans)
- Various NOSTER grants for thematic seminars, e.g. Zwiep (internationale Noster-tweedaagse "Memory, Orality and Performance"), Lietaert Peerbolte, Smit.
- NWO onderwijsbeurs (PhD Rotman)
- Anchoring Innovation Zwaartekracht grant (Lietaert Peerbolte)
- DFG network Mahl und Text (Smit)
- Individual grants for PhD candidates (e.g. Jacobie Visser)
- Grant from Clue+ (Ruben van Wingerden)
ACNTS in the light of the Faculty's ProfileWe consider critical reading of fundamental religious texts in their ever-changing settings of crucial importance to understand religious, cultural and societal phenomena both past and present. Historical reflection and critical engagement go hand in hand. In all this, the Centre partakes in the urgency and pertinence of the Humanities in general, if only in the struggle for societal quality and coherence in a world of fake news and fact-free opinions. In this sense, the scholarship of the Centre’s members is critically engaged and societally relevant by definition. This engagement becomes clear on all levels on which their expertise is employed, from the world-wide academia to the student classroom, and from popular publications and media appearances to commitment in local faith communities and ecumenical and interfaith meetings.