Fr Gerard Norton OP is the new director of the Dominican Biblical Institute
Fr Gerard Norton OP is the new director of the Dominican Biblical Institute, Limerick. He takes over from Fr Tom Brodie OP, the founding director, whose learning, care for students and professional academic qualities were greatly appreciated. In the Dominican tradition, terms of office beyond 9 years are most unusual, and after 12 years of service, Tom offered his resignation and it was accepted. Subsequently some controversy arose about his most recent book (See the Provincial statement elsewhere on this website)
Fr Gerard, a Dubliner, brings a different kind of experience and approach to the role. He has taught in Jerusalem, Dublin, Paris, Birmingham UK, Oxford, and Maynooth. His research has brought him to one of the most boring areas of the history of the Bible: the comparison and evaluation of the dots and titles of different manuscripts, mainly in Hebrew and Greek. Perhaps that explains why he is so unstoppably enthusiastic when it comes to teaching and engaging the many voices of the Bible text, and how they have been interpreted by different communities, art forms and literatures.
Fr Gerard's experience in administration should be an asset at the DBI, as the Maynooth diploma moves from its initial experimental years to a fully-fledged academic adventure. The DBI was established as a company in 2004, and the board members have given generously of their time and skills to its solid establishment. Now, in addition, an academic council is to be formed that will ensure that the academic procedures of the DBI are smooth and the standards appropriate.
Fr Gerard is the second eldest of a family of five. His mother Alice has been in a Dublin nursing home since her severe stroke in 2008. He has three living sisters, three brothers-in-law, three nieces, and three nephews. His wonderful sister Carol, a person of special abilities since birth, died in 2012. He is deeply concerned about the rights of people with special abilities, and personally committed to challenging the stigma associated with mental illness.
The DBI will see many changes in the months to come. Fr Gerard has been given a great responsibility, and with it a demanding workload. We hope that those who already know us will support us, and that these changes will make us an even clearer voice in the proclamation of the word of God.