ERIC Number: EJ853403
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Apr
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 3
The Familiar Made Strange: An Orientation to Biblical Study in Vancouver
Maier, Harry O.
Teaching Theology & Religion, v10 n2 p80-86 Apr 2007
This paper originated in a Wabash-funded colloquium organized by Richard Ascough and Leif Vaage, on the theme: "Teaching the Bible for Leadership in the United Church of Canada." Professors teaching biblical studies at United Church seminaries and theological schools met over three years to share pedagogy, things that have worked and not worked in the classroom, changes in teaching Bible over the years, and the role of context in shaping teaching. In the final year they presented their philosophy of teaching to one another; this paper arose from that meeting. The paper describes an orientation to teaching New Testament Studies at Vancouver School of Theology, a theologically liberal school in the context of Vancouver, Canada--paradoxically one of the most secular and multi-religious cities in the world. Guided by Denise Levertov's poem, "Overland to the Islands," it explores the promises and challenges of biblical study grounded in the material reality of the world, amidst older students who bear the marks of secularity, who are impatient with traditional orthodoxies, and who long more for life before the grave than after it. Adopting ideas from Roland Barthes, Paul Ricoeur, and Julia Kristeva, it explores teaching the Bible in a way that promotes the polyvalence, strangeness, and irreducibility of biblical texts, in order to move students away from exegetical and hermeneutical theories content with recovering authorial intent and reconstructing historical origins as the primary tasks of biblical study. The paper describes a model of teaching that celebrates the materiality of the New Testament together with its textual, social, theological, and historical complexity, as well as a tradition-constituted means of apprehending the world, and which treasures students as living texts who in the course of interpretation awaken ever-fresh meanings relevant to their own communal and personal identities.
Descriptors: Biblical Literature, Foreign Countries, Theological Education, Religious Education, Churches, Philosophy
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada; Canada (Vancouver)