Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Bible Interpretation Without the Bible?

I wonder if it would be better to teach my “Bible Interpretation” class using texts from outside the Bible.  Essentially the aim of the course is to teach methods, goals and practices of good interpretation and if I could cover the same exercises without using the Bible, then they could take those same methods and apply them to the bible.  The assessments could still be focussed on biblical texts but the class room analysis could be on texts unfamiliar to the student.  We could use texts from ANE, Dead Sea Scrolls and the Apostolic Fathers in our classroom exercises, texts from similar historical, cultural, and ideological environments in which the Bible was written.  The benefit of this approach would be that students would have no theological/ideological investment in the specific “meaning” of these texts, since most of them would be unfamiliar with these writings and have no vested interest in their interpretation.  There could be a sustained focus on texts that aid our interpretation of the Bible and also this would alert students to the various texts which provide the necessary ideological, historical and cultural matrix within which biblical writings are to be understood. 


Thoughts?  What am I missing? 

1 comment:

Sid Martin said...

My book, Secret of the Savior: The Myth of the Messiah in Mark (University Press of America: 2013) analyzes the Gospel from the standpoint of the OT, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Josephus, and other ancient sources.