Sacred Texts

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Sacred Texts

  1. 1. SACRED TEXTS Year 11 SOR Term 3 Ryan,M & Goldberg P. (2001). "Recognising Religion". Social Science Press:katoomba
  2. 2. What are Sacred Texts? All religious traditions have certain texts that are considered sacred. Believers attach significance to texts Texts may offer insight into life Guidance for living Express a relationship between a people and their God or gods. Ryan,M & Goldberg P. (2001). "Recognising Religion". Social Science Press:katoomba
  3. 3. What is sacred? It may manifest itself so that the believer responds A person who is invested with authority may impart the sacred. He or she sets aside an object, person or place as sacred Sacred can be derived from association with something already sacred Ryan,M & Goldberg P. (2001). "Recognising Religion". Social Science Press:katoomba
  4. 4. Which of these examples link to which of the previous statements? A chalice used for the Eucharist Moses encounter with the burning bush An indigenous person painting on a rock wall _____________________________ The sacred is usually believed to be connected with powers of the “other” world and this power may break into our world or be mediated by others. It is mysterious, suggesting a deeper reality. Ryan,M & Goldberg P. (2001). "Recognising Religion". Social Science Press:katoomba
  5. 5. How are sacred texts kept? In memory Enacted in art, dance, song, sculpture or totems (religious objects are texts) Oral recitations Written history, letters and stories Qur’an and Vedas are passed orally. Qur’an means “recitation They are divinely inspired eg. Buddhist texts are enshrined in the speeches of the Buddha Ryan,M & Goldberg P. (2001). "Recognising Religion". Social Science Press:katoomba
  6. 6. Analysing written texts (Habel (1996) Most written sacred texts can be analysed using the following headings Time – “in the beginning” or it may be timeless World – Historical, heavenly or fantasy Performers – people involved (gods, animals, people, ancestors) Actions – plot and significance- told by reenacting Context and Intention – place and time help create significance Ryan,M & Goldberg P. (2001). "Recognising Religion". Social Science Press:katoomba
  7. 7. Authority of sacred texts Most Christians consider the Bible to be the word of God but accept that there is authorship of human writers who set the words on the page. A minority of Christians take the Bible literally as the Word of God as though it came directly from the hand of God. Inspiration is the influence of the Divine on texts therefore these texts have authority. Ryan,M & Goldberg P. (2001). "Recognising Religion". Social Science Press:katoomba
  8. 8. Inerrancy Inerrancy is the belief that Sacred Scripture is immune from fundamental error about God ( in the case of Christians) and things of God. For Protestants the inerrancy of the scripture is one of their most basic beliefs. The role of the human authors is completely overshadowed by the idea of divine power. Ryan,M & Goldberg P. (2001). "Recognising Religion". Social Science Press:katoomba
  9. 9. Inerrancy continued…Most scholars agree on the following principles- The words of the Bible are only true in the sense that the human writers conveyed them. What influenced the writers? “Human authors are not without error”. Their personal opinions may be wrong but these do not affect the message of scripture itself. Inerrancy should take into account literary forms such as poetry, folklore, legend and song Human authors wrote from a different mindset than Western Scholasticism This principle applies to essential proclamations regarding salvation. Ryan,M & Goldberg P. (2001). "Recognising Religion". Social Science Press:katoomba
  10. 10. The Canon The biblical canon (official list of sacred texts) was selected by men who selected writings that they found valuable for male experience and interests. Some feminist scholars suggested that this needs to be expanded to include more writings about women eg. Mary Magdalene and Thecla. Ryan,M & Goldberg P. (2001). "Recognising Religion". Social Science Press:katoomba
  11. 11. Revelation “God’s unveiling or self-disclosure to people through creation, sacred writings, people and for Christians, the person of Jesus Human expression can be limited in its expression and prone to bias. Feminist scholars question whether the entire Bible can be considered revelatory because of patriarchal bias They argue that a new discussion needs to take place about which texts should be included. Some non-biblical texts might be worthy. Ryan,M & Goldberg P. (2001). "Recognising Religion". Social Science Press:katoomba
  12. 12. Judges 19:22-30 – Rape and murder of concubines Sexist images of the comparison of Israel to an unfaithful prostitute in Hosea Many people are now asking- “How can a text that contains so much that is damaging to women and some men function authoritatively in the Christian community as what is normal in one’s faith and life?” Ryan,M & Goldberg P. (2001). "Recognising Religion". Social Science Press:katoomba
  13. 13. THINKING FOR YOURSELF Discuss in pairs this statement from your experience/reading so far… Ryan,M & Goldberg P. (2001). "Recognising Religion". Social Science Press:katoomba
  14. 14. How are texts considered sacred? There must be a community of believers who accept the text as sacred. Some groups read their texts aloud Other read them for instruction Others use them as a basis for meditation and devotional reflection. They are foundational to religious ethics ritual and practices Ryan,M & Goldberg P. (2001). "Recognising Religion". Social Science Press:katoomba
  15. 15. Moral codes, practices and laws Some sacred texts are only passed on or allowed to be read after reaching a certain age or passed certain tests. (eg. Aboriginal people’s artwork) Texts such as the Ten Commandments, the Code of Hammurabi set out moral codes and ways of living one’s life. Ryan,M & Goldberg P. (2001). "Recognising Religion". Social Science Press:katoomba
  16. 16. GENRES OF TEXTS Legends- confirm the life of authority figures of religions, traditions and a way of life Myth – powerful sacred stories which provide believers with a sense that religion and religious belief is meaningful. Help us explore the human condition Psalms – songs, laments for community worship Proverbs – a pithy statement expressing some truth in a striking but memorable way Prophecy- not a prediction of the future but a meditation or interpretation of the will of the Divine Gospel – good news - various literary styles (narratives, miracles, parables) Ryan,M & Goldberg P. (2001). "Recognising Religion". Social Science Press:katoomba
  17. 17. Techniques of Interpretation All interpretations of scripture are made through a cultural and historical lens: Australian, Asian, American, black, white, male, female. People’s experience links biblical times to their lives. Eg. The Exodus story became a metaphor for American slaves as they struggled to free themselves…Promised Land image Ryan,M & Goldberg P. (2001). "Recognising Religion". Social Science Press:katoomba
  18. 18. Techniques of Interpretation cont’d Scriptures indicate the values of the time – social patterns and cultural influences of a semi- nomadic people, settled peasants and city dwellers Different political views Eg. Early Hebrews had slaves and concubines. These values are not ones considered “Christian” today. Therefore we should take into account the values and aspirations of that time and this present time, Ryan,M & Goldberg P. (2001). "Recognising Religion". Social Science Press:katoomba
  19. 19. Technique 1– HERMENEUTICS Hermeneutics – understanding religious texts within their own historical, cultural and social milieu to define meaning. Impossible today as we cannot replicate these cosmologies in which the texts were produced. In late 1700s this was re-evaluated as the art of understanding the sense of the text, allowing the text to speak for itself. The Hermeneutic tradition attempts to confront the complex issues of interpretation and the role the “reader” and interpretative community play in deriving meaning from the text. Ryan,M & Goldberg P. (2001). "Recognising Religion". Social Science Press:katoomba
  20. 20. Source criticism Since the 19th Century biblical scholars have asked,” What did the text mean?” This source criticism is a method that seeks to determine the sources of sacred texts and to explain the literary relationship between them. Which gospel was written first? Which gospel was the historical source for others? Ryan,M & Goldberg P. (2001). "Recognising Religion". Social Science Press:katoomba
  21. 21. Form Criticism Traces the history of sacred texts to an oral stage behind the written texts. Eg. Story, parable, legend, myth Ryan,M & Goldberg P. (2001). "Recognising Religion". Social Science Press:katoomba
  22. 22. Redaction Criticism Seeks to separate tradition, materials the writer inherited from the “redaction” – how the sender, editor ir author shaped the message. What is the intent of the author? Shaping message according to the individual and community concerns Ryan,M & Goldberg P. (2001). "Recognising Religion". Social Science Press:katoomba
  23. 23. Social criticism Draws on all the information we have from the ancient world such as: -literature -archaeological excavations -art -coins -inscriptions in order to understand the daily culture and customs of people at the time of the writings. Ryan,M & Goldberg P. (2001). "Recognising Religion". Social Science Press:katoomba
  24. 24. Reader response criticism Focuses on the reader or receiver of the text. Whatever the meaning is and wherever it is found the reader is ultimately responsible for determining the meaning. Meaning is not considered a given. Who determines the meaning? – this is often questioned by critics of this method. Ryan,M & Goldberg P. (2001). "Recognising Religion". Social Science Press:katoomba
  25. 25. Deconstructive criticism (Jacques Derrida) Readers read with an eye and ear for the excluded, the marginalised, the gaps and silences. They highlight seemingly unimportant details in a text that traditional readings have ignored or failed to notice but yield important insights. Ryan,M & Goldberg P. (2001). "Recognising Religion". Social Science Press:katoomba
  26. 26. Feminist interpretation Each feminist critic is shaped by their unique class, education, race, religion and personal experience. All are aware, however, that scholarship is always “interested” and never neutral. Gender shapes the reading of texts just as it has shaped the texts themselves. How does the social construction of gender shape and has shaped lives past and present. What cultures produced sacred texts? Ryan,M & Goldberg P. (2001). "Recognising Religion". Social Science Press:katoomba
  27. 27. Feminist interpretation cont’d The Christian Bible for example is an androcentric (male centred) text that rose out of a patriarchal culture. There are women in the bible but their voice has been limited in places and references to them are often suppressed or omitted from some teaching and discussion. Biblical references to God are as lord, master, king, leader of armies. Ryan,M & Goldberg P. (2001). "Recognising Religion". Social Science Press:katoomba
  28. 28. Conclusion Texts are read by people of their time. Even the notion of what is a text requires some clarification and refinement In the Western world many people want to question what they read, argue about meanings and come to some personal understanding of the text in the light of their own personal situation. Ryan,M & Goldberg P. (2001). "Recognising Religion". Social Science Press:katoomba
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