Summer Study features "Bible Study and Interpretation Week" during week one, June 11-15


“Bible Study and Interpretation Week,” June 11-15, the first week of Summer Study at Yale Divinity School 2012, offers courses ranging from biblical interpretation, to preaching, to the Bible and art/literature, to church music.  Some of those courses are being taught by veterans of the summer program who have been among the most popular teachers in summers past, such as Professor Emeritus of Christian Communication David Bartlett, Professor of Old Testament Robert Wilson, and Dean Harold Attridge.

Attridge will offer “The Book of Revelation,” the last Summer Study course he will teach as dean of YDS, as he steps down from the deanship at the end of June.

Says Attridge, “Often misunderstood as a blueprint for events of our own day or dismissed as utterly irrelevant to contemporary Christianity, the Book of Revelation will be seen to be a forceful proclamation of the Gospel within the hostile context of the Greek cities of Asia Minor in the last decades of the first century.”

SharpAs they have many times in the past, Wilson and Bartlett will team up to teach “Preaching from the Lectionary.”  The course, they say is designed to help pastors prepare for the coming preaching year, focusing on selected Old Testament and New Testament texts assigned by the Revised Common Lectionary for Year C.

“Class discussions will consider both the interpretive problems raised by the texts and also the homiletical challenges and opportunities involved,” their course description says.

Courses taught by Julie Faith Parker have been among the more popular classes over the past several summers, and she is back for Summer Study 2012, once again offering “The Bible through Art and Artifact,” which takes advantage of some of Yale’s most precious art and museum treasures.

“Each day will have a different theme that we will explore through academic study and lively conversation about a biblical text.,” says Parker, visiting assistant professor in religious studies at Colby College.  Textual explorations will be integrated with field trips to the Yale campus, to such places as the Yale Peabody Museum (related to Egypt and Israel), the Yale University Art Gallery (biblical characters depicted in European painting), the Institute of Sacred Music (the music of the Psalms), the Yale Babylonian Collection (artifacts from the ancient Near East), and the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library (ancient papyri and illuminated medieval manuscripts).

Associate Professor of Hebrew Scriptures Carolyn Sharp, who received a 2007 Fortress Press Teaching Award, will offer “Testifying in the Shadow of Empire: The Hebrew Scriptures, Postcolonial Criticism, and the Contemporary Church.”

Says Sharp, “The course will begin with a review of the political and cultural pressures brought to bear on ancient Judah by the Assyrian, Babylonian, and Persian empires. Then we will engage the claims of ‘postcolonial’ biblical criticism, which inquires into imperial ideologies and seeks to understand the complex identities of colonizer and colonized alike.” Sharp notes that the class will discover ways in which postcolonial biblical criticism can serve as a rich resource for Christian preaching and pastoral care.

Another Old Testament scholar, assistant professor of Old Testament Joel Baden, will teach an intriguing course on King David: “The Historical David: Fact or Fiction?”

“King David is the indisputable hero of the Old Testament and a mythical founding figure in Judaism and Christianity,” Baden’s course description notes.  “But how do the traditional depictions of David match with his historical reality?  Did David even really exist?  If so, what kind of person was he?  How did he become the legendary king of Judeo-Christian tradition, the founder of Israel and the ancestor of the Messiah?  And what does the cultural development of David’s legend tell us about our own values?”

YDS newcomer Maggi Dawn, associate dean for Marquand Chapel and associate professor of theology and literature, will offer “Reading the Bible through Literature, Music and Art.”

Says Dawn, “The Bible has inspired vast amounts of literature, music and art, all of which are readily embraced as illustrative of biblical themes. But a closer study reveals that the arts do more than illustrate; they also create meaning, and thus contribute to the theological interpretation of the scriptures.

“Focusing principally on poetry and literature, this course will examine the interpretative relationship between the Bible and the arts, studying both the effect of reading the Bible with a literary mindset, and the way in which literature and poetry have expanded and developed Biblical themes.”

Patrick Evans, who has taught courses virtually ever summer, will offer two in Week One, one in the morning, “Musical Skills and Vocal Development for Parish Ministry,” and another in the afternoon, “Renewing Congregational Song.”

“Musical Skills and Vocal Development” is designed to help clergy and lay worship leaders develop their musicianship and is intended primarily for people with limited musical experience.

“Renewing Congregational Song” is aimed at helping people reclaim or cultivate their own musicianship.  “This is an important pastoral ministry, and an essential aspect of liturgy,” says Evans.  “Many, if not most, of the ‘people in the pews’ in our churches have been vocally disenfranchised by some personal experience in which they were told their singing was not good enough.”

Following “Bible Study and Interpretation” will be “Tools and Timely Topics Week,” June 18-22.

Click here for Summer Study web site, including a link to online registration.


Date Posted: Friday, March 9, 2012 - 1:49pm