Canon Dr Paula Gooder is a speaker and writer on the Bible, particularly on the New Testament. She began her working life, teaching for twelve years in ministerial formation first at Ripon College Cuddesdon, Oxford and then at the Queen’s Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education in Birmingham. Following this she spent around eight years as a speaker and writer in biblical studies travelling the country and seeking to communicate biblical scholarship in a more accessible way. After this she spent six years working for the Bible Society as their Theologian in Residence and then for the Birmingham Diocese as their Director of Mission Learning and Development. She is currently the Chancellor of St Paul’s Cathedral in London.
What are you excited about being a judge for the Michael Ramsey Prize?
“I think that celebrating the best of theological writing is always a good thing to do and the Michael Ramsey Prize is a really good way of doing this. There is so much good thinking and writing going on at the moment and introducing that to a wider audience is a brilliant thing to do.”
What are you hoping to find in selecting a winner for the Michael Ramsey Prize? Are there certain qualities or attributes that you’re looking for?
“Creativity and accessibility. What I’m looking for is a book that looks at things in new ways and suggests different ways of thinking about ourselves, the world and God but that is able to do that in a way that is easily accessible for people who might not naturally pick up a theology book. It’s a big ask but I’m confident that, from the long list, we’ll be able to find it. ”
Do you have any recent theology book recommendations?
“Judy Fentress-William Holy Imagination: A Literary and Theological Introduction to the Whole Bible
Wilda Gafney Womanist Midrash: A Reintroduction to the Women of the Torah and the Throne.”