What are the implications of transposing the Gospel narrative from a first century Middle Eastern context to that of twenty-first century Britain?

A dissertation submitted to The University of Manchester for the degree of Bachelor of Arts in Theology in the Faculty of Humanities (Spurgeon’s College: 2017)


There is a common call from Christian preachers to imagine Jesus Christ conducting his earthly ministry (as described in the Gospel accounts) in the present day, and within the context of the local community in which they are preaching. Artists re-imagine Jesus in contemporary settings and yet it is argued that there is a lack of contemporary portrayals of Jesus that make sense to the world. Using the Gospel passages that describe Jesus’ engagement with a Samaritan woman (John 4:1-42) and a woman accused of adultery (John 7:53-8:11) this dissertation explores the context of Jesus’ ministry and identifies potential parallels of people and places within twenty-first century Britain. Through developing a contextualised portrayal of Jesus’ ministry this thesis examines possible implications for the mission and ministry of the Church. Samaritans are transposed as Jews, Pharisees as evangelical Christians, Jacob’s Well as a supermarket and the Temple Mount as Parliament Square. The conclusion calls for multi-faith (particularly Christian-Jewish) dialogue, anti-discriminatory preaching, compassionate public theological engagement and the advancement and promotion of inclusive spirituality that leads to redemption and renewed wholeness through engagement with Christ.