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The Blurred Cross

A Writer’s Difficult Journey with God

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In early 2022, esteemed New Testament scholar Richard Bauckham nearly lost his ability to read--an alarming prospect for a man who considers reading, writing, and scholarly work to be his vocation from God. Despite it being one of the most difficult times of his life, it was also a period in which Bauckham felt closest to God.

In this beautifully written book, Bauckham combines memoir, theological and biblical reflection, and poetry to offer profound insight into God's providence amid life's difficulties. He discusses relevant aspects of his earlier life, delves into the time when his eyesight began to deteriorate, and reflects on issues that arose during that period. The book also includes generous amounts of Bauckham's own poetry.

Throughout his experience, Bauckham maintained a close relationship with God and drew nearer to him. His journey with God during this time led him to contemplate God's purpose for his life and how he can live in a way that reflects his overwhelming sense of gratitude. He shares his story as a way of encouraging others in their own unique walk with God.

1. A Memory of Tobit
2. "Always Reading"
3. Writer and Scholar
4. Vocation
5. The Story, Part 1: The Blessings of Alnmouth
Appendix to Chapter 5: St. Patrick's Breastplate
6. The Story, Part 2: Losing Sight
7. A Message from Taiwan
8. The Story, Part 3: "God Will Be with Me Whatever"
9. Providence: A Theological Reflection
10. The Story, Part 4: The Blurred Cross
11. The Colour of May: Three Poems with Commentary
12. Christ in Three Sightings: A Poem with Commentary
13. Three Poems on Sight
14. Brown Grass: A Poem
15. Thanksgiving


"Not only is Richard Bauckham a world-class scholar and a poet of wisdom and subtlety, but--as demonstrated here--it seems he can write of a 'difficult journey with God' in a way that puts him alongside some of the great spiritual writers of the past. Weaving together autobiography, poetry, and biblical and theological reflections, The Blurred Cross has all the makings of a fresh Christian classic. You will finish the book profoundly grateful, not only to Bauckham for having written it, but even more, to the God who so obviously inspired it."

Jeremy Begbie, Thomas A. Langford Distinguished Research Professor of Theology, Duke Divinity School

"Bauckham takes us on a remarkable journey along the anxious path of his failing eyesight. He leads us to a vista where God's providential care illuminates the experience of grace in weakness and results in the call to a life of thanksgiving. The book is striking in its vulnerability and clarity, as it weaves together the warp of human experience with the weft of scriptural study, theological reflection, and poetical imagination. The result is a rich tapestry that displays God's loving care, to encourage and challenge anyone who reads."

Elizabeth E. Shively, professor of Christian Scriptures, George W. Truett Theological Seminary, Baylor University

"It is rare that a book by a scholar evokes a longing for a deeper faith, but in sharing his brush with blindness, Bauckham models the fruit of a lifetime of faithfulness. This book is more than an autobiography, although not less, as Bauckham focuses on a specific few months and weeks of deep fear in 2022. Bringing to his story the full weight of his immense intellect and literary depth, and sharing his own poetry and prayers, he gives a deeply personal account of seeing God's faithfulness, even in the 'coincidences,' and brings encouragement that testing is not in vain."

Mariam Kamell Kovalishyn, associate professor of New Testament, Regent College

"I'm not usually a reader of memoirs or poetry, but I found this memoir stimulating to reflect on. I too am not much of a doubter, and don't easily think of myself as old, and retired because I was burnt out, and came to live in Oxford because of the libraries, and have wondered how I would cope if I lost my sight. Richard's reflection is that of a profound thinker having a simple relationship with God."

John Goldingay, senior professor emeritus of Old Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary

The Author

  1. Richard Bauckham

    Richard Bauckham

    Richard Bauckham (PhD, University of Cambridge) is emeritus professor of New Testament at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland, and senior scholar at Ridley Hall, Cambridge. He is a fellow of the British Academy and the author of numerous books,...

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