Transcript of "Bible Seminar 2011 Question Rankings"
BIBLE SEMINARQUESTION RANKING RESULTS
ONCE AND FUTURE BIBLE1. Do we need to lend more precision to our terminology—what is the difference between sacred texts, scripture, canon, and Bible?2. If the Bible gets reconceptualized in the digital age, will Christianity, broadly speaking, get reconceptualized too?3. In what ways has print technology informed and delimited the modern understanding of the Bible?
ONCE AND FUTURE BIBLE4. Can we ascertain what the conceptualization of scripture was before the rise of the codex? What is the relation between scripture and scroll?5. In what ways is digitization constructing scripture and canon differently than the book form and print-technology?6. In what ways has the codex form of the Bible informed and delimited the modern understanding of scripture and canon?
ONCE AND FUTURE BIBLE7. What is the relationship between a closed canon and a fixed text? And are they both tied to the printed word?8. How are the peoples of other religions imagining their holy books today, or historically for that matter? How is the digital revolution impacting them? What can we learn about the Jewish and Christian Biblical imagination by the comparison?9. What do we know about written media technology when the writings of the Hebrew Bible were being collected?10. Scholars for a couple generations have argued for the importance of the connection between Christianity and its identity as a book-religion with the rise of the codex. Roger Bagnell has just written a book arguing scholars of early Christianity have grossly overstated the case. Are we due for a reassessment and what does it look like?
BIBLE AND SOCIETY1. Can the Bible be read meaningfully within a scientific, technological and planetary perspective?2. Who speaks for the Bible today? How can the Bible be read, discussed, debated, and employed responsibly in a public venue?3. What should critical readers of the Bible do with such texts that depict divinely-ordained or initiated violence? Is it enough to understand such texts, or should they be expunged from scripture?
BIBLE AND SOCIETY4. Is the Bible still a resource for a society in which inter- dependence and equality, not patriarchal domination are the hallmark of life for a liberated life of women and men?5. Can investigation of the basic metaphors and assumptions of debt and obligation in the Bible throw significant light on the problem of individual, corporate, national, and global debt?6. Does the Bible have anything significant to say to other religions that transcends the tribalism of its temporal frame?7. What can and should a responsible reader of the Bible say about the question of homosexuality within the public forum?
BIBLE AND SOCIETY8. Has the Bible been replaced by film as the vehicle of meaning for human life?9. What does the Bible say about marriage and family values?10. Can the utopian aspects of certain biblical texts be embraced without aiding and abetting the denial of human limits and death?11. What does the Bible say about the American mono-myth of the rugged individual hero, who uses violence as a legitimate means to an end: Dirty Harry: “Go ahead, make my day.”
BIBLE AND HISTORY1. What is the current status of our understanding of the origins of Ancient Israel and Judah? How does one define terms such as Canaanite, Amorite, Hebrew, Israelite, Judean, et c. and track their historical development and interrelations?2. To what extent does Wellhausen’s documentary Hypothesis of the origins of the Torah/Pentateuch still serve as a standard for literary analysis of the Hebrew Bible? How should these analyses be revised or should they be discarded all together?
BIBLE AND HISTORY3. What can be said about the historical Moses and the date(s) and origin(s) of the legal tradition(s) that are associated with him?4. What is the historical evidence (archaeological & literary) for the biblical account(s) of the Exodus from Egypt?5. To what extent does Gunkel’s analysis of the genres of myth, legend, and historical narrative still serve as a standard for literary analysis of the Hebrew Bible? How should these analyses be revised or should they be discarded all together?
BIBLE AND HISTORY6. Can the United Monarchy under David and Solomon be historically documented or is it largely fictitious?7. What can be documented regarding the historical Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, as well as the nature of the Hebrew Bible genealogies in general?8. What is the historical evidence for the enslavement of the Hebrews in Egypt and the accounts of Joseph and his brothers in the biblical narrative?
BIBLE AND HISTORY9. What led to the rise of the so-called Divided Monarchy of Israel and Judah in the 9th Century BCE? Was it the result of the breakdown of the United Monarchy or were they kingdoms that emerged independently at roughly the same time, along with Edom, Moab and Ammon?10. How many voices are there in the Isaiah literature?
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