Anne Aalbers

July - September 2018 | The Vaughan Park Scholar in Residence

I am an Aucklander, educated by the Dominican Sisters in Henderson for my intermediate and high school years. It was from these Sisters that I learned a love of theology and languages, and a knowledge of the Bible. Hence my move, later in life, to Biblical Studies. I completed a Master of Theology at Laidlaw College in 2015. I am currently enrolled for a PhD in Theology with a New Testament emphasis, at Auckland University.

It is one of those God-moments of life to think of myself, some decades ago, sitting in class, with my now-antique RSV Catholic Edition Bible open in front of me at John’s Gospel, asking myself, “Why would Jesus tell Mary Magdalene, ‘Do not touch me’?” (20:17). Now, by a story too long to tell, that is exactly what I am exploring: What did Jesus mean? In my PhD, I argue that John’s purpose was to show the humanity of Jesus. I am exploring first-century beliefs around male/female relationships; other contexts in which the verb haptomai (touch) was used; how Mary was seen in other ancient texts; and the practice of celibacy at that time. My thesis submission date is 2019.

In my spare time, I enjoy swimming and bush walking, especially on Tiri Tiri Matangi at least once a year. I enjoy preaching occasionally at my local church, Albany Presbyterian. I also attend Huapai Catholic Church. My deepest joy is my family of four children, Rebecca, David, Mary and Jonathan, a family now expanded by three partners and the gift of a grandson, Malachi.