ERIC Number: EJ853689
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Apr
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 12
The Arts, Midrash, and Biblical Teaching
Birch, Bruce C.
Teaching Theology & Religion, v8 n2 p114-122 Apr 2005
Biblical texts have been handed on to us through a long history of interpretation. Awareness of this rich but complex process is one of the goals of biblical teaching. Since the earliest centuries of the church there has been a parallel history of artistic interaction with the biblical text. These artistic treatments of biblical subjects have had a great cultural impact and have deeply influenced public perceptions and understandings of the Bible. Unfortunately, seldom does this history of artistic interpretation become a part of Bible courses. In this paper, I reflect on learnings from a serious effort to take artistic resources and methodologies into account in teaching Hebrew Bible in a theological school. My most successful efforts have employed the ancient Jewish interpretive method of midrash. Use of midrash opens new, imaginative possibilities that can enliven and extend our usual exegesis of texts. More specifically, midrash provides the ideal category for understanding artistic interactions with biblical texts. Through midrash students can understand artists to be both profound respecters of the power and integrity of biblical texts, while at the same time extending and entering into imaginative encounter with those texts. This article will appear as a chapter in the forthcoming book "Arts, Theology, and the Church: New Intersections."
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
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