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GLOBAL INTERPRETATIONS OF CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES RLST 206 DIV/REL 3845 Jan 23, 2012.

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Presentation on theme: "GLOBAL INTERPRETATIONS OF CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES RLST 206 DIV/REL 3845 Jan 23, 2012."— Presentation transcript:

1 GLOBAL INTERPRETATIONS OF CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES RLST 206 DIV/REL 3845 Jan 23, 2012

2 Today a) 3:10 Contemporary Models for the Interpretation of Scriptures: “INCULTURATION HERMENEUTICS” b) 4:00 Presentation of Readings of Scripture in Nigeria: Luke by Samantha Hesley and Colossians by Alison Stuhl c) 4:15 Group Discussion (examples of Inculturation): Luke: Leader: Chanel Baker Colossians: Leader: Michael Durham c) 4:55. Comments on discussion d) 5:00 Lecture: Classical Models for the Interpretation of Scriptures: JEWISH INTERPRETATIONS OF SCRIPTURE: Pharisees, Midrash, Targum

3 Today Group # 1 Luke Presenter: Samantha Hesley Leader:Chanel Baker Respondent: Amy Allen Matthews, Brendan Meenehan Melvin, Brittany Danielle Kahler, Shaun Thomas Rushing, Julia Frances Drescher, Courtney Sarah Dahlgren, Alexandra Jennie Biddle, Kathryn Louise Perez, Miladys Maria

4 Today Group # 2 COLOSSIANS Presenter: Alison Stuhl Leader: Michael Durham Respondent : Brenda Kao Ameha, Aynalem Ann Hackett, Nicholas James Greene, George Harlin King, Zachary Thomas Carli, Julie Angela Bland, Walisha Paine, Alexandra Kristen Rossbert, Brian Allen, Joseph

5 Sign up again for the First Part of Semester For each group we need Presenter of CDC (present CDC side of the Form) Leader (present both her/his side and the CDC side) Respondent (with a few exceptions): underscores the difference with her/his side of the form. Each should sign for TWO different roles

6 Each Week Use of the Form: This week Parts A1, 2, 3, and B1, B2 New Week Parts A1, 2, 3, and B1, B2 as well as B3 and B4

7 >>> Sunday Feb. 12 replacing Monday Jan 17 Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church; attending the “The Divine Liturgy” (10 AM worship service= Divine Liturgy) followed by a question/answer period with the Priest, Fr. Gregory Hohnholt meeting at 9:30 AM to about noon in preparation of our discussion of Greek Orthodox interpretations of the Gospel of John and Hebrews Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church 4905 Franklin Pike Nashville, TN Cars?

8 Why study Global Interpretations of Christian Scriptures? Appendix # 1 A & B (See end of the syllabus) Three Parts A. To learn about distinctive interpretations of the Bible as Christian Scriptures around the world. B. To Learn What is involved in any “interpretation of Scriptures.” How it is related to: a) the believers’ vision of life, structured by religious experience and culture = HERMENEUTICAL/THEOLOGICAL CHOICES b) their concerns in the concrete social, economic, political reality of their life-context, thus their “ideology” = CONTEXTUAL CHOICES c) their view of what is most significant in the biblical text. = TEXTUAL/ANALYTICAL CHOICES

9 Why study Global Interpretations of Christian Scriptures? Appendix # 1 C C- To recognize that Christian believers and scholars are always making choices among several possibilities of relating the teaching of the Bible: Theological/Hermeneutical Choices: to their cultures (from “total separation” to “inculturation”) & to their religious experiences (from ardent spiritual experiences to total lack of such experience in a secular life; sacramental/liturgical); Contextual Choices: to their life contexts (from concerns for the needs of people every where to concerns exclusively limited to people close to us— inter(con)textual and liberation interpretation). Textual/Analytical Choices: by choosing as most significant a specific aspect of each biblical text.

10 Scripture = A Word-to-Live-by Believers’ readings of Scripture are necessarily incarnated, and thus inculturated. = Word-to- live-by So >>> a great diversity of interpretations of the same Biblical texts as living Scripture by Christians from many traditions and many cultures, including from the Southern Hemisphere where the majority of Christians are. With the Cambridge Dictionary of Christianity, learn about billion readers of the Bible Believers’ readings of Scripture are necessarily incarnated, and thus inculturated. = Word-to- live-by So >>> a great diversity of interpretations of the same Biblical texts as living Scripture by Christians from many traditions and many cultures, including from the Southern Hemisphere where the majority of Christians are. With the Cambridge Dictionary of Christianity, learn about billion readers of the Bible

11 This week, in Nigeria (1 of 150 CDC entries on Christianity in…) History of Christianity in Nigeria 2011 statistics: million (M) Based on CIA World Fact (accessed Jan 2012). Main Ethnic Groups: Yoruba, 17.5%; Hausa, 17.2%, Igbo, 13.3%, Toroobe Fulani, 4.9%, Yerwa Kanuri, 3.0% Christians, 62 M, 40% (were 50% 10 years ago with 51M) Independents =AICs, 25 M; Anglicans, 20 M; Protestants, 14 M; Roman Catholics, 13.4 M; (17 M doubly affiliated) Muslims, 77 M, 50% (were 40% 10 years ago) African Religionists, 11 M, 9.8%.

12 Why study Global Interpretations of Christian Scriptures? A) To learn about distinctive interpretations of the Bible as Christian Scriptures around the world. Why? (Why not simply Western scholarly interpretations?) a) Because most of the readers of the Bible are Christian believers who read these texts as SCRIPTURE —a fact that one cannot afford to bracket-out in religious studies, critical studies of the Bible, or in theology; b) Because 2/3 of Christian readers of the Bible are in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Oceania, as well as in Eastern Europe and the Middle East Only 1/3 of the readers of the Bible are in Western Europe and North America

13 Becoming self-conscious about the contextual character of our interpretations We can and have to learn from African, Asian, Latin American readings of the Bible by 1) “reading with ordinary readers” 2) paying attention to the ways in which our readings “affect certain groups of people” 2) studying the history of reception of biblical texts (early Jewish receptions; in the New Testament; and later through history up to today), 4) “breaking biblical texts” (using traditional ways of reading, particular to each culture);

14 ALL Interpretations of Scripture are Contextual Reading Scripture for believers = discerning a “Word-to-live-by” = Relating this text to one’s particular life-context 4 WAYS of INTERPRETATIONS ARE CONTEXTUAL: 1) Inculturation (examples from African scholars); 2) Liberation (examples from Latin American scholars) 3) Inter(con)textual (examples from Asian scholars); 4) Sacramental/liturgical (examples from Eastern Orthodox scholars).

15 Learning about distinctive interpretations of the Bible around the world is necessary Nothing wrong with adopting “what the text obviously means” for us PROVIDED that we recognize that we have (often implicitly) chosen an interpretation FOR THIS, we need other interpretations, from Other cultural contexts, Other socio-economic contexts Other religious contexts THESE “OTHER” INTERPRETATIONS (if we respect them) HELP US recognize that “what the text obviously means” (aka = its literal meaning) for us actually is an interpretation. choosing certain aspects of the text as most significant for us And ignoring other aspects of the text… which are “obviously” the most significant for people in other contexts. And from other (Christian) religious traditions.

16 Why study Global Interpretations of Christian Scriptures? B) B. To gain a solid understanding of: 1) What is involved in any “interpretation of Scriptures.” How it is related to: a) their view of what is most significant in the biblical text. [Analytical/Textual Choices = A] b) the believers’ vision of life, structured by religious experience and culture; [Hermeneutical, Theological Choices = H] b) their concerns and commitments in the concrete social, economic, political reality of their life-context, and thus to their “ideology” [Contextual Choices = C]

17 A text (Luke or Colossians) is a complex discourse

18 Acknowledging What a Text Is A text (Luke or Colossians) is a complex discourse: 1) What an author/speaker wants to say to an audience (to do something; convey pieces of information, knowledge; e.g., propositional truth; views, ideas) – intention of author/speaker 2) What an author/speaker says out of her/his heart (convictions, passion) (what drives the person to speak, to do something; un-intentional; sub- conscious) 3) What the author/speaker says in order to communicate – to be convincing--to an audience (using the language & views of the intended audience; rhetoric )

19 Acknowledging What a Text Is Intended message; Convictions (self-evident truths that motivate the speaker)—not necessarily the intended message Other views – carried out by the language used to communicate = common language with the hearers, images, figures of speech; world views, which the speaker expects the hearers to know, and possible share

20 TEXTUAL CHOICES A Text/Discourse = Several Potential Meanings Example: (I took 2 weeks ago: the Lecture at Vanderbilt in 1986 by a white South-African scholar. Intentional message: clearly expressed by the argument: join us in the struggle against apartheid and racism in South Africa; this is what many of us heard. But is it the only message? The true one?

21 TEXTUAL CHOICES But the African-American students heard a very different message. To convince us (using a language that, he thought, would convince us, the intended audience) he emphasized the plight of black Africans, describing them as child-like, in need of education, so that they will move away from their backward culture. Thinking he was rhetoric ) the demeaning metaphors and other figures of speech Conveyed racism

22 TEXTUAL CHOICES Which is most important? As Word to live by (in this speech or a biblical text) The Intentional message? One of the several unintentional messages (including the writer/speaker’s deepest convictions/faith)? We have a choice. AND WE ARE ALWAYS CHOOSING

23 Text, Religious experience, Life Textual choices Contextual choices Hermeneutical Theological Choices

24 Inculturation: Contextual Choice An interpretation is spontaneously chosen because “it makes sense in our culture” Which culture? For several of us in this room = European- American middle class culture; for others, African-American culture? What else??? Is this wrong? No. We need to make sense of biblical text in our culture

25 Inculturation The Biblical texts and the “gospel” have always been “understood” in terms of a culture In terms of High culture—literature, art, famous persons; great philosophers; politicians; etc First in terms of Jewish common cultures: daily-life; view of the world Plural: Sadducees, Pharisees, Apocalyptic, Zealots Also/mainly in terms of Hellenistic common cultures Plural: philosophy of the street; stoicism; and neo-Platonism; multi-cultural, This is appropriate: the Bible is itself cultural.

26 Next Week sign up THEME: “OPPRESSION” and “LIBERATION” What does 1 Timothy have to say about “OPPRESSION” and “LIBERATION”? What does Exodus have to say about “OPPRESSION” and “LIBERATION”? For Your Context? For a Latin American Context?

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28 Justin Ukpong “Inculturation hermeneutics: An African Approach” pp in Dietrich & Luz, ed. The Bible in a World Context. “Luke” in GBC Co-author The Gospel of Matthew, a Contextual Introduction

29 Justin Ukpong, “Luke” GBC Samantha Hesley "What is according to Ukpong the teaching of Luke about MISSION for his specific context in Nigeria?

30 Inculturation: Justin Ukpong Step 2 The Inculturation mode of reading is “a contextual hermeneutic methodology that seeks to make any community of ordinary people and their sociocultural context the subject of interpretation of the Bible… “The goal is sociocultural transformation focusing on a variety of situations and issues.” Justin Ukpong, “Inculturation Hermeneutics,” pp in The Bible in a World Context What needs to be interpreted is the concrete life-context of the readers… the Bible is a means (a tool) to interpret one’s life context.

31 Inculturation: Justin Ukpong Two Steps Step 1 in Studying the inculturation of the Bible: “Appraising the cultural-human dimension of the Bible in respect of its attitude to, and evaluation of, “other” peoples and cultures The Bible is not (culturally and ideologically) an innocent text. a) appropriation of certain religious traditions; b) in terms of a particular religious experience; c) for a certain context (including culture, ideology), because of needs

32 Inculturation: Justin Ukpong Step 2 It is God’s Word in human language, which implies human culture with its ideology, worldview, orientation, perspective, values, and disvalues that are intertwined with the Word of God. Ancient Near Eastern Context (Israel) Jewish context Hellenistic context Step 2: “Reading the Bible to appropriate its message for a contemporary context. This involves engaging a biblical text in dialogue with a contemporary contextual experience so as to appropriate its message in today’s context”

33 Tersa Okure, SHCJ One of the editors of the Global Bible Commentary The Contexts book series (editing Contexts) and Contexts (Fortress Press)

34 Teresa Okure, “Colossians” GBC Alison Stuhl "What is according to Teresa Okure the teaching of Colossians about MISSION for her specific context today in Nigeria?

35 Inculturation: Teresa Okure Reading Colossians as a means to make sense of her present life-context in Nigeria The Lordship of Christ and the Uniqueness of Christ as Lord and Savior Can be understood as a doctrine And the rest of Colossians can be understood as a moral teaching Or can be a window or corrective glasses through which one can make sense of one’s life-context The issue is not Jesus’ Lordship in itself (a doctrine) But the conviction that Jesus is Lord of the world in which we live (in her case Nigeria)

36 Inculturation: Teresa Okure Her community of ordinary people (the divided churches in Nigeria) is the sociocultural context which is the subject-matter of her interpretation of Colossians Colossians changes for her the way to see the concrete situation in Nigeria, and of the diversity of churches there. Because it demands to recognize that Christ IS LORD of this context… whether or not people recognize him as Lord is irrelevant = Christ IS LORD. For believers, the question is: What does it mean to live in a context where Christ IS actually Lord?

37 Mission & your Book: which view did you choose? (CDC; Phan) Mission as Proclamation and Witness to Save Souls. Primarily Matt 28:19–20. Mission as Planting the Church. Luke 14:23. In this parable, the master orders his servants to go to the roads and country lanes and bring everybody to the banquet so that his house may be full. Mission as Serving God’s Kingdom of Truth, Love, and Justice. Luke 4:18–19, Jesus’ mission of preaching the good news to the poor, releasing captives, giving sight to the blind, setting the oppressed free

38 Mission (CDC; Phan, Veronis) Mission as Dialogue. Mission as reflecting the mystery of God’s incarnation. (Phan) John 1, Matt 1-3; Luke 1-2. The dialogue is fourfold: dialogue of life, which entails living with people of non-Christian faiths; of action (collaborating with them in projects of peace and justice); of theological exchange (learning from their different beliefs and practices); and of religious experience (praying with them) … all this as a way of finding the most effective way to carry out God’s mission amid cultural diversity, religious pluralism, and massive poverty Mission as create indigenous Eucharistic communities (= which experience God’s loving presence) while respecting the indigenous culture, using the local language (Veronis; Orthodox) Eucharist = great joyfulness in the presence of God, “who ever loves humankind,” Prayer, experience of God’s loving presence is essential “The theologian is the one who prays, and the one who prays is a theologian.” (Orthodox Church; Demetrios Trakatellis) Offering translations of Holy Scripture and the Divine Liturgy, creating an alphabet and writing system when necessary, and training indigenous leaders

39 Mission & your Book: which view did you choose? CDC Mission in Africa Valentin Dedji 1) Mission as Conversion and Church Planting; 2) Mission as a Quest for Authenticity; 3) Mission Adaptation, Inculturation, and Liberation; 4) Mission as Incarnation and as Fostering African Ecclesial Structures; 5) Mission as Liturgy; 6) Mission as Healing; 7) Mission as the Empowerment of Women (and other oppressed people)

40 FAITH (CDC, Patte & TeSelle) 1. Faith as Faithfulness. God’s (Christ’s) faithfulness to God’s promises and Human faithfulness to God 2. Faith as Trust: as trusting God 3. Faith as Believing a Speaker’s Words (“Believing That”); believing in the words of Scripture 4. Faith as leading to true Knowledge “Believing in order to understand ” (Augustine) or “faith seeking understanding” (Anselm) 5. Faith as Movement toward, and Experience of, God. (“believing in” God or Christ) 6. Faith as Gift (from God) that puts believers in the right relationship with God

41 Today Group # 1 Luke Leader:Baker, Chanel Matthews, Brendan Meenehan Melvin, Brittany Danielle Kahler, Shaun Thomas Rushing, Julia Frances Drescher, Courtney Sarah Dahlgren, Alexandra Jennie Biddle, Kathryn Louise Perez, Miladys Maria

42 Today Group # 2 COLOSSIANS Leader: Durham, Michael Respondent to Leader : Kao,Brenda Eva Ameha, Aynalem Ann Hackett, Nicholas James Greene, George Harlin King, Zachary Thomas Carli, Julie Angela Bland, Walisha Paine, Alexandra Kristen Rossbert, Brian Allen, Joseph

43 Assessing the INCULTURATION H. Richard Niebuhr, Christ and Culture (1951) Christ/Scripture against Culture. The Christ/Scripture of Culture. Christ/Scripture above Culture. Christ/Scripture and Culture in Paradox. Christ/Scripture the Transformer of Culture.

44 Christ/Scripture and Culture Script against Culture Script & Culture in Paradox Script transforms Culture Script Of Culture Script above Culture

45 Culture Tanner, Kathryn. Theories of Culture: A New Agenda for Theology Traditional/sociological view: culture is a human civilization characterized by a certain posited vision of the ideal life (cosmos ; essence) and ideal values (nomos, and ideology as fixed) Issue: identifying the truly civilized culture (Western culture); assessing it/refining it; then enforcing it in one’s life, and on anybody else. Peter Berger, The Sacred Canopy (1967) Anthropological conception: culture is the vision of life and values (ideology) presupposed by a particular people’s practice of everyday life. Issue: understanding the culture lived by a people; assessing it; then eventually helping the people to develop a better way of life for themselves..

46 Assessing the INCULTURATION H. Richard Niebuhr, Christ and Culture (1951) Christ/Scripture against Culture. Christianity is an alternative to the existing culture; converts must choose either to follow Christ/Scripture or to remain in the “evil world” or “paganism.” The Christ/Scripture of Culture. Christ as “Son of God” [Scripture as both Divine Word] and “Son of man” [S = Human Word] that affirms the cultural and religious heritage of peoples. The gospel = the fulfillment of culture, not a threat to it (Matt 5–7) Scripture, the “word for all cultures” helps people discern and live according to God’s will in the context of their respective cultural and religious traditions.

47 Assessing the INCULTURATION H. Richard Niebuhr, Christ and Culture (1951) Christ/Scripture above Culture = distinction between the heavenly city and earthly city (Augustine), Christianity = transcendentalist; “salvation” in heaven and the future; the needs and demands of the present are irrelevant. Christ/Scripture and Culture in Paradox. Christ/Scripture is BOTH identified with AND contrasted with culture. The church is in the world, though it is not of the world (Protestant Reformation; Luther). But when is Christ/Scripture in support of or against culture? (Missionaries: in support of our culture; against native cultures.)

48 Assessing the INCULTURATION H. Richard Niebuhr, Christ and Culture (1951) Christ/Scripture the Transformer of Culture. Christ/the Word makes all things new (Rev. 21:5). Conversion = a challenge for converts to change their ways and become new beings (e.g. Paul = from “persecutor” to “apostle”). “Transformation” presupposes that the earlier way of life is not abandoned, but transformed through the adoption of new insights and commitments. Problem with Mission: Ingredients of transformation are most often taken from the culture of the missionaries. African elite blamed the modern Christian missionary enterprise for the cultural alienation of Africans.

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50 JUSTICE true justice has its source in God, is inherent in the Divine Nature – the Triune God (Orthodox) justice is the kind of relation that exists between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and between God and creation and Jesus Christ and the world Humans can only approximate this (divine) justice interhuman justice as divine command (HB Prophets): distributive justice (tsedeq) e.g. a redistribution of wealth as a condition of divinely mandated distributive justice; fairness; the vindication of the wrongly accused or the violated and vulnerable (mishpat). retribution amid wrongdoing, and an impartial treatment of all persons in all settings (womanist justice) Justice vs unbridled avarice and arrogance of the powerful

51 JUSTICE Justice in NT = dikaiosyne (translated as both “justice” and “righteousness” or justification) Both individual’s relation to God (= righteousness, justification) And Social relations = Individuals relations with others (= justice) = characteristic of a good society distributive justice (tsedeq) e.g. a redistribution of wealth (cf. rich young man and Jesus) the vindication of the wrongly accused or the violated and vulnerable (mishpat). Justice vs. human incapacity for justice, sin Retributive justice = God’s punishment of sinful humanity … overcome by divine mercy through Christ Justice vs. cruel, selfish, unkind, oppressive, exploitative, or callous toward others (African & Latin American views of Justice)

52 JUSTICE Justice through the law: forensic justice resolves the apparent contradiction between justice and mercy --- the judge may pronounce the verdict that a guilty person is to be regarded as if innocent Justice beyond the law understood to be social justice that takes the form of welcoming and making an individual commitment to the other. Latino/a Justice: the creation of relationships that enable people to fulfill their humanity (as children of God) (part of the “preferential option for the poor”)


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