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Seminars 2007 - Biblical Studies Across the Curriculum

Biblical Studies Across the Curriculum:
Discerning Scripture for the Disciplines

Directed by James K.A. Smith and J. Richard Middleton

July 9-27, 2007

Funds provided by the Lilly Fellows Program in Humanities and the Arts at Valparaiso University

Seminar Description
Over the past decade, a vision of integral Christian scholarship across the disciplines has flourished. But curiously absent from much of this discussion is any robust role for Scripture. While Christian scholars across the disciplines mine the resources of the Christian theological tradition for constructive work in their field, they often don’t dig down to the level of first-hand, rigorous engagement with the Bible. Or when Christian scholars do invoke Scripture, too often it is in the mode of “proof-texting,” drawing on a less-than-sufficient acquaintance with the Bible that tends to de-contextualize Scripture, wresting passages from their canonical and historical context, or simply reducing them to propositions for logical operations.

The paucity of biblical engagement in Christian scholarship stems from a lack of opportunity for faculty development in this area. (In fact, it first stems from a certain failure of churches to provide solid formation in biblical interpretation.) Scholars are formed in ways that don’t provide opportunities to learn how to read Scripture well, and how to read it as scholars—and along with scholars in biblical studies. The goal of this proposed summer seminar is to provide a faculty development opportunity that will rectify this situation. We aim to bring together a team of 12 scholars from across the disciplines who are eager to acquaint themselves with the best of critical, confessional scholarship on Scripture with a view to its impact for thinking across the curriculum. As such, we believe the seminar will have both scholarly and pedagogical impact.

About the Directors
James K.A. Smith
is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Calvin College. Working at the intersection of philosophy, theology, and cultural theory, Smith is the author of a number of books, including most recently: Introducing Radical Orthodoxy (Baker Academic, 2005), Jacques Derrida: Live Theory (Continuum, 2005), and Who’s Afraid of Postmodernism?: Taking Derrida, Lyotard, and Foucault to Church (Baker Academic, 2006). He also edits the “Church and Postmodern Culture” book series for Baker Academic and is on the editorial board of the Journal of the American Academy of Religion. He and his wife, Deanna, have 4 children, are committed urban dwellers, and live in the East Hills neighborhood in Grand Rapids—within walking distance of all the best coffee shops!

J. Richard Middleton is Associate Professor of Biblical Studies at Roberts Wesleyan College, in Rochester, NY. His most recent book is The Liberating Image: The Imago Dei in Genesis 1 (Brazos Press, 2005) and he is presently working on a commentary on 1 and 2 Samuel for the Abingdon Old Testament Commentaries series. Middleton also has published The Transforming Vision: Shaping a Christian World View (with Brian J. Walsh InterVarsity, 1984) and Truth is Stranger than It Used to Be: Biblical Faith in a Postmodern Age (InterVarsity, 1995), both of which are widely used as college textbooks. The latter volume received a Book-of-the-Year award (1996) from Christianity Today magazine.

Seminars & Workshops 2007

For further information contact:
Seminars in Christian Scholarship
Calvin College
1855 Knollcrest Circle SE
Grand Rapids MI 49546-4402
616.526.8558
fax 616.526.6682
seminars@calvin.edu