Thursday, October 26, 2006

Meet the MacBears

The answer to the question 'What do aging NT profs do with their spare time?' turns out to be-- write fiction. Richard Bauckham is a long time good friend of mine from the U.K. and he has writtten a children's book which is delightful. As Christmas is coming and people are always asking for good recommendations of what to give their children or grandchildren that will actually nurture them into some decent Christian values, decent human values, I am happy to give my unconditional endorsment to Richard's new book. You'll even learn the origins of a popular game played in St. Andrews. Hopefully before long, I too will find a publisher for a work of fiction-- my first novel entitled 'The Lazarus Effect'. In the meantime, please by all means go out and get a copy of this wonderful short story for children. Here are the particulars about it below in the advertisement. Please note that you will need to order it through Go to the drop down menu on the front page at the Amazon site and click on the U.K. page.


From Bibles to Bears!

Richard Bauckham, Professor of New Testament Studies and Wardlaw Professor,
in St Mary's College, is well known as a prolific author of theological
and religious books, but he has now branched out into something completely
different - children's literature.

His first story book for children, a ‘comic fantasy’ called The MacBears of Bearloch (Aultbea Publishing), has recently been published.

The story is a humorous fantasy about a family of bears and their friends
who live by a secret loch in the forgotten lands of the north, a country
rather like Scotland. There is grumpy Grampa MacBear, reliable Mother
MacBear, and her four 'bearns' (as bear cubs are known in Bearloch):
sensible Duff, imaginative Beth, mischievous Tosh, and Baby Brother. The adventures include islands that move, a mysterious horse, a haiku contest, the oldest
creature from the depths of the ocean, and much more.

Richard said: "I wrote the kind of children's book I enjoy reading. It's a bit different
from the kinds that are mostly being written now. It's a fantasy that is
not a struggle between good and evil, and not about witches and magicians
or kings and queens. It is also, I hope, funnier.

"The children's books I'm most conscious of being influenced by are the
wonderful Moomin books of Finnish author Tove Jansson. I hope it has
something of the spirit of the Moomins. Bearloch is related to Scotland
much as Moominvalley is related to Finland.

"It was tremendous fun to write, and a refreshing change from most other
things I do!"

The MacBears of Bearloch is available at £4.99 from Ottakers or the Ladyhead Bookshop in St Andrews. It can also be ordered from Amazon.


Jason Barr said...

I will certainly check this out. I have enjoyed his scholarship for several years, since my undergrad work, and had the privelege of meeting him a couple of years ago when I was visiting St. Andrews. In fact, I'm planning on applying to St. Andrews when I'm ready for my doctoral work and many of his research interests dovetail quite nicely with mine. So... who knows, perhaps one day he could be an advisor for me.

Thank you for blogging this.

byron said...

Jason, unfortunately, he is retiring at the end of this academic year. Sorry to bring the bad news. :-(

Sounds like an interesting book nonetheless...

Ben Witherington said...

the place to find it is at

Matt said...

Dear Dr. Witherington,

If Dr. Bauckham's children's fiction is anything like his theological writings, it will be enlightening and mind expanding for children of all ages. I'll moist definitely have to look into this.

Incidentally, in Dr. Bauckham's brilliant God Crucified, he mentions in his preface that he is working on a fuller treatment of the same material in a volume provisionally entitled, Jesus and the Identity of God: Jewish Monotheism and New Testament Christology. Those Didsbury lectures on which the former were based were a decade ago, and wonderful (albeit slim) book based on them was two years later.

Not exactly on topic, but maybe you know something. (:-> I have a feeling a lot of people are hoping to see that book completed and published.



Ben Witherington said...


Richard had not been well, but I do have good hopes he will be able to complete that work in due course, probably after he gets to Cambridge in a year and a bit.


ktismatics said...

How about posting an excerpt from The Lazarus Effect?

Ben Witherington said...

As for posting a sample of the Lazarus Effect, I must wait on my literary agent.... if he says so, I probably will.

Ben Witherington said...

Matt: Here is a response from Richard Bauckham---

In answer to Matt, the big Christology itself still needs a lot of work, but as an Interim measure I'm hoping that next year a quite large collection of my articles around this subject (including one major unpublished paper) will be published.


Michael F. Bird said...

The book is an excellent story for kids. I've been reading parts of it to my little girl!

byron said...

Is he retiring or moving to Cambridge? I'd heard the former (from him, almost a year ago), but Dr Witherington mentioned the latter.

Michael F. Bird said...

Byron, the answer is "Both". He's retiring and then moving to Cambridge so he can concentrate on research with a limited amount of teaching on the side.

byron said...

Thanks for clarifying.