Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bibles and Empires

This semester a The Meeting School is offering a social studies course called Bibles and Empires, which takes a critical look at the tension between creation and empire that threads its way throughout the Old and New Testaments of the bible, and the theme of "forgetting" the importance of God's creation in the pursuit of empire.

The course's texts include God and Empire: Jesus Against Rome, Then and Now, by John Crossan, and Come Out My People: God's Call Out of Empire in the Bible and Beyond, by Wes Howard-Brook.

Today's class included an exploration of the different kinds of bibles and the conversation ranged from a discussion of the effect of the printing press and literacy on the the use of the Bible, and the consequences of no longer being in relationship with the bible primarily through an oral tradition, in which stories were passed down through the context of one's culture.

Teacher Landis Brown illustrated this point by quoting from theologian Stanley Hauerwas' book Unleashing Scripture: Freeing the Bible from Captivity to America: "No task is more important than for the church to take the Bible out of the hands of individual Christians." Hauerwas suggests that the bible has become so accessible that it no longer means what it once did, and has lost its power to communicate its prophetic call to care for God's creation.

You can read more at Landis' blog.

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