It’s Complicated

I’m teaching my preaching class about reading the Bible for preaching tonight. I find myself in a quandary. I’m a professional biblical scholar. I’ve done the coursework; I’ve read the dead German guys; I know the classic source/form/redaction kritiks; I know the postmodern/poststructuralist/postcolonialist theories. And as a result—I go back to the Patristics and their methods of basic and advanced grammatical exegesis.

And that’s what I want to teach my students—on one hand.

On the other hand—I’m on the far side of the modern critical morass. I’ve been there/done that/used the t-shirt to clean my kitchen. I know where the dead-ends and wrong turns are for meaningful parish use. But they don’t and they’re not.

It’s one thing to poo-poo form-criticism when you know its flaws and pitfalls from the inside. It’s another entirely when you have no idea what it is to begin with…

That’s my struggle: there are real reasons to recognize the issues and purposes and benefits of the modern and postmodern projects in order to move past them. But how is that suppose to happen in under an hour?

*Sigh*

At any rate, if I can instill some good habits and disciplines for reading the text carefully and preaching clearly I’ll call it a success.

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6 Responses to It’s Complicated

  1. D. P. says:

    Hope it goes well. I’m not sure you can get folks through Geschichte-shock and on to productive Bible reading strategies in four years, let alone one hour!

  2. Derek the Ænglican says:

    Thanks–

    My director does have a method of teaching Intro that does a surprisingly good job but it bypass much of the conventional (German) wisdom…

  3. Marshall says:

    I spent this past Saturday teaching “Ethics in the Anglican Tradition” to a group of folks “reading for orders” in this diocese. You’re more scholar than I, derek, but I’ve found choosing some good secondary sources to point them to is helpful. I have great affection for the authenticity of primary sources; but, as you say, getting enough information across in a short time can be a problem. Well chosen secondary sources, offered with meaningful critique, can give them resources for immediate use, and will point them to primary sources when they’re capable. Of course, there might be enough of a difference in our classes; but those are my thoughts.

  4. *Christopher says:

    Derek,

    I feel for you on this one. We have similar problems in liturgics, but they don’t usually show up on a given Sunday–TWS is an example of what happens when given a taste in an hour or one book or two without adequate humility that understands this will be a lifelong learning.

    But if I ever again hear a sermon on well “J” or “P” or “Q” says…without relation to application to the Christian life, Good News, etc., I’ll scream, and not because I don’t respect the German emphasis, but because it’s not enough by itself. The same goes for social justice sermons using poco theories that tell us all we must do, x,y,z.

    It’s a fine balance, but I think promoting going to the text, reading it carefully and clearly, and if possible in the Hebrew or Greek (Aramaic is a bit arcane for most of us to learn) is a start–fortunately, I have C, my living, breathing, Greek and Hebrew dictionary–I envy German education on the language score. Asking about how it relates to what’s in the news today, to Who comes to us on the Table seem vital, otherwise there’s a danger it seems to me that sermons become lectures or self-righteousness. As I said to a student a few weeks back, I need some meat, so dig into the text, but I also need challenge and hope for the rest of the week.

    If anyone can do this, it’s you, and if you instill a fresh love for Patristics, all the better.

  5. The Cubicle Reverend says:

    How many times learning all sorts of subjects we wonder, “How on earth is this going to benefit me in life? what good is this?” Sometimes, just learning it can strengthen our minds and give us a basis that may in the long run be beneficial

  6. The Cubicle Reverend says:

    How many times learning all sorts of subjects we wonder, “How on earth is this going to benefit me in life? what good is this?” Sometimes, just learning it can strengthen our minds and give us a basis that may in the long run be beneficial

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