Christian Faith and Historical Consciousness in The Bible Research Questions
Provide short answer responses for each question (typically 1-2 well-written, substantial paragraphs).
1)Martin Albl’s book is primarily aimed at helping students to understand the harmony (or at least, possible harmony) between reason and faith. Choose one concrete example of how Albl argues these concepts can be reconciled, and use it to answer the following questions: why might it be necessary in our time to argue that faith and reason can be reconciled, and how does Albl respond to this challenge (i.e. how is his argument a response to a contemporary issue)?
2)On p. 24, Albl writes that “a person cannot approach basic questions of the meaning of life except by means of a particular tradition.” What does this mean, and why is it significant for the study of theology?
6)In class, we discussed how the common belief in the dialectic of “science vs. religion” is actually a cultural clash that is part of the larger experience of Western Modernity. Provide one example from class or Albl used to demonstrate this claim. Then, discuss why it matters if it is true—that is, if “science vs. religion” is culturally located, what does this mean for those of us who received this culturally inherited perception?
7)Typically, biblical scholars will argue Genesis 1:1-2:4a and 2:4b-25 constitute two distinctive (albeit ultimately harmonious) creation accounts. Identify one substantial piece of evidence for this argument. Then, discuss how such a reading of Genesis might impact contemporary debates about the Bible and science, such as the question of evolution.
8)One of Gregory of Nyssa’s primary interpretative approaches in Life of Moses is to provide what the Latin tradition calls a “tropological” or moral interpretation of the Bible. Provide one concrete and substantive example of this way of interpretation. Then discuss why reading the Bible in this way would be both beneficial and difficult in the modern world.
9) – After reading Gregory of Nyssa’s book (pg 111-132), you should have a clearer idea of the historical context behind the Old Testament. Choose one historical fact you have read about that you did not previously know before and is significant for how we should think about the Bible as a text. Describe that fact and reflect on the following questions (in at least one well-written paragraph): Why do you think you didn’t know about this before, given the cultural importance of the Bible (even if you yourself aren’t a practitioner of a faith tradition)? Why did this fact stick out to you as worth writing about? How does knowing it possibly change how you think about or approach the Bible?
10) Does it surprise you to think about the Bible as a historical text written for a different time and in a different language than how you read it today? Given that this is true, what does it mean for how one reads the Bible? What are some challenges or perhaps opportunities that arise in reading and interpreting the Bible given that it is a text with a history and context?
The Catholic Study Bible, 3rd New York: Oxford University Press, 2016. ISBN: 978-0199362776
Albl, Martin C. Reason, Faith, and Tradition. Revised edition. Winona, MD: Anselm Academic, 2015. ISBN: 978-1599826325
Gregory of Nyssa, The Life of Moses. Translate by Abraham J. Malherbe and Everett Ferguson. New York: HarperOne, 2006. ISBN: 978-0060754648