Biblical Interpretation and Difference in Inter-faith and Intra-faith Understanding
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BIBLICAL INTERPRETATION AND DIFFERENCE IN INTER-FAITH AND INTRA-FAITH UNDERSTANDING
B 623 McCormick Theological Seminary
October 8 - 12, 2012
“It might be said of Jews and Christians that they are divided by a common Scripture.”
James Kugel, The Bible As It Was
The ultimate goal of this course is developing a theology and practice for living and doing ministry in a religiously pluralistic society and world. This goal is addressed concretely in this course by examining the relationship between Christianity and Judaism. And this relationship will be examined by studying the early interpretation of Scripture, how Jews and Christians, often beginning with the same text from the Hebrew Bible, developed identities and world views different from each other.
This goal, developing a theology and practice for living and doing ministry in a religiously pluralistic environment through studying early biblical interpretation in Judaism and Christianity, requires the cultivation of several kinds of understanding: a knowledge of the other religion, a recognition of the positions of one’s own community and one’s personal stance within that community, and an awareness of the dynamics of both intrafaith (within one’s tradition) and interfaith dialogue. Along the way, we will encounter the issue of the authority of Scripture and consider how that affects scriptural interpretation. We will begin our conversation with your ministry contexts, and throughout the course we will be thinking about how the larger goal of this course might be adapted to the challenges specific to your ministry.
Achieving these larger goals in this course will depend on sound interpretation of biblical texts, so a related goal of this course is to improve several exegetical skills: discovering the meaning of biblical texts in their original settings, distinguishing original meanings from the meanings given texts by later Jewish and Christian interpreters, understanding how methods of interpretation affect the outcomes of interpretations, recognizing and explaining the similarities and differences in Jewish and Christian interpretations, and understanding the implications of these discoveries for interfaith relations and for discerning the basis of differences within our own faith communities.