By Amanda Boyer
Matthew Bates, the assistant professor of theology at Quincy University, is preparing to release his third book to the public, “Salvation by Allegiance Alone,” on March 14, 2017.
“I’ve been busy writing,” Bates said.
Salvation by Allegiance Alone is Bates’s third book following, “The Birth of the Trinity: Jesus, God, and Spirit in New Testament and Early Christian Interpretations of the Old Testament,” and, “The Hermeneutics of the Apostolic Proclamation: The Center of Paul’s Method of Scriptural Interpretation.”
“Teaching a very heavy load and trying to write at the same time is very difficult to do. I would have to try to carve out specific niches of time where I could write,” Bates said. “I would come in very early, usually around 6 a.m., and I would write for as long as I could until I got swept up into other responsibilities.”
“The Hermeneutics of the Apostolic Proclamation,” Bates’s first book was published and released by Baylor University Press in 2012.
“The hardest thing about writing a book in comparison to a paper, is it’s very difficult to write something that extended, and to know when to introduce new information into your reader and when to preserve it,” Bates said. “Learning how to control the flow of information is much harder in a book.”
“The Birth of the Trinity,” Bates’s second book was published and released by Oxford Press University in March 2015, and the paperback released in Nov. 2016.
“It’s exciting, from my field a publication of Oxford University Press is kind of a highpoint in your scholarly career,” Bates said. “It’s exciting that the book has been a success and that it has gotten some good critical feedback from the scholarly community; it has been well-reviewed.”
Some of the research that went into Bates’s first book and dissertation, “The Hermeneutics of the Apostolic Proclamation,” was pertinent to his research in, “The Birth of the Trinity.” Bates originally sat down to write, “The Birth of the Trinity.” in 2012 and completed a draft one year later.
The book was written as an academic monograph, which is different from a textbook, because it is not summarizing the field. Instead, “The Birth of the Trinity,” was written in order to advance the field and to create new knowledge.
“There’s a possible strand of evidence that hadn’t been explored… it’s a technique of reading called, prosopological exegesis,” Bates said. “It was essentially an argument that scholars in general hadn’t developed.”
Prospological exegesis is a term that Bates created and has based a lot of his work on it. Bates describes prospological exegesis as a reading technique and a way of interpreting Scripture that was common in the early church.
“Salvation by Allegiance Alone,” Bates’s third and coming book, was written as part textbook and part monograph. The intended audience being graduate students and scholars.
“You grow as a writer the more you do and (it) forced me to think about my material in ways that I hadn’t before and it has been a delight to try and take your preliminary ideas and to work through the process of them being refined for your own self,” Bates said. “It is very important to me that I was able to write the book with some of that devotional quality. I’m glad that my love for god was still able to be communicated in the text even though it is a monograph; that was important to me.”
Jonathan Miles, assistant professor of philosophy at QU, read manuscripts for two of Bates’s books: “The Birth of the Trinity,” and “Salvation by Allegiance Alone,” and Miles says that, he was privy to the entire process. He provided Bates with feedback on both of his books.
“I think that it’s an amazing book and it expanded on prospological exegesis, an idea that I never knew about,” Miles said. “I think his books are valuable, not only for scholars.”
“Readers have commented to me that I could really see your love for god shining through in the text. I’m pleased that I was able to create that in some small way even though it is an academic monograph that is designed to promote knowledge,” Bates said. “I’m glad that there was some knowledge of the heart too.”