Vanderbilt University
Department of  Religious Studies, College of Arts and Science

RLST 206 (DIV/REL 3845) Global Interpretations of Christian Scriptures
HOMEScheduleRequirementsBooks | Paper Topic Articles & Presentations Forms

Appendix # 3

PAPER PROPOSAL DUE FEB 27 in class

  • Choosing a Biblical Book as topic for your paper: your first choice and two alternates due (by email) Paper Proposal  =  10 %   due Feb 27.
  • A paper prepared over the second part of the semester (including oral presentation with hand-out of a part of your paper):  30 %  Final PAPER DUE April 29  9AM

By Feb 19 noon you should have proposed your top three choices of a Biblical text [ranked in order of preference]  among the biblical books which are NOT discussed during the first half of the semester.  (You will know by February 20 at 3PM  which of your three choices has been assigned to you.).   

1) Paper Prososal Due FEB 27
3-4 pages paper proposal = 10% of Final Grade

Your proposal should include the different parts of the form we use since the beginning of the semester, but the proposal should be in the style of a paper – with subtitles reflecting the content of the different parts of the form. (See also the syllabus and the PowerPoint. But the instructions here are more detailed and are the norm.)

INTRODUCTION:  (= Part A1 15%) Specify from which concrete life-context you propose to read the chosen book- - explaining what is, for you, the overall/major problem for Christian believers today and how it finds a specific expression in this concrete life-context… As you will do in a more detailed fashion the first part of your paper. Then explain:     
Part A 2 5%) which Verses or passages of the Biblical text will be particularly helpful to address this problem (you will develop this below in C)
Part A 3 10%) which THEME (or issue) is at the center of this problem and of these passages of the biblical text. What is your view/understanding of this THEME (as contrasted with other understandings of it; see CDC)
Part  B) ANALYZING THE PROBLEM Christian Believers need to address  IN THIS CONCRETE LIFE- CONTEXT
B1  10%)  PRESENT  AND ARGUE WHAT IS the Primary aspect of the believers’ life where this problem is (and why not the others)

      • A)  private life?  B)  family-life?  C)  Christian community?  D) society?  E)  culture (with its vision of life, values, ideologies)?   F)  relationship with people with different religious convictions?

Then explain/argue which one of the four contextual ways of interpreting you will use:   1) in a cultural/way of life context (Inculturation)? 2) in a social, economic, or political context where people are oppressed or deprived (Liberation)? 3) in a literary/communication [media] cultural context with its texts and other cultural artifacts, and media (Inter(con)textual)?  4) in a religious context with its religious experiences and rituals (Sacramental/liturgical)?   Why not the others?  You need to show an in-depth understanding of the difference between these contextual ways.  Review your notes on the lectures and class discussion.
B2 10%)  PRESENT  AND ARGUE WHAT IS  the primary root-problemto be addressed (What kind? To do what?  Explain why not the others?)
A lack of (or wrong) A) KNOWLEDGE?  B)   ABILITY?    C)  WILL? 
D) FAITH/VISION or IDEOLOGY?
B3 15%)  PRESENT  AND ARGUE WHAT IS THE ROLE OF SCRIPTURE that needs to be used to formulate the teaching to will truly address this root-problem?    Which one?  Why not the other ones?  Are you sure the proposed role of scripture will truly contribute to address the above problem?   
A) LAMP TO MY FEET (giving a certain KNOWLEDGE); B)  RULE OF THE COMMUNITY (KNOWLEDGE OR WILL)  C)  GOOD NEWS (KNOWLEDGE or  WILL);   D) FAMILY ALBUM (FAITH/VISION or IDEOLOGY);    E)  CORRECTIVE GLASSES (VISION of God’s presence in their lives;; IDEOLOGY) F)  EMPOWERING WORD ( POWER/ABILITY));  G) HOLY BIBLE (FAITH/VISION); H) ANOTHER METAPHOR?
Which one of the traditional interpretations of Scripture your interpretation is the closest to yours?    The Pharisees and early rabbis? Apocalyptic Jews? Matthew? Paul? Why not the others? None of these? Explain. You need to show a clear understanding of the differences among these traditional interpretations of Scripture  
PART C  25%)  Preliminary Analysis of your Text:   an Overall Presentation of the Biblical Book, so as to identify and locate in it the specific passages and textual features that will be discussed in detail in your paper because, in your interpretation, they address the problem and root problem in the concrete life context you have chosen. (Use scholarly sources presenting an overview of your biblical book:  e.g., in Div library reading room, the article on your biblical book in the ANCHOR BIBLE DICTIONARY or in THE INTERNATIONAL BIBLE COMMENTARY or in the  NEW INTERPRETERS DICTIONARY OF THE BIBLE
IN CONCLUSION (10%), explain what you expect will be the teaching of your biblical book for your chosen context – that is, how do you expect this teaching will resolve the problem and root problem in the concrete life of believers in this context. Then tentatively explain which of the five strategies you will use to become aware of your interpretive choices and their implications:
1) Paying attention to the ways in which they “affect certain groups of people” (e.g., an aspect of feminist interpretations)?  2)  Studying the history of reception of biblical texts?  3) “Reading with ordinary readers”?  4) “Breaking biblical texts”  (using traditional ways of reading, particular to each culture)?  5) “Producing alternate contextual interpretations” (challenging existing interpretation)? (Since we have not yet dealt with several of these, this section will be tentative.)

TOPIC OF YOUR PAPER
PAPER DUE APRIL 24 2013   9AM
Prepare a “contextual interpretation” (a contextual commentary) of a book of the Bible of your choice (the body of your paper).  Compare it with the interpretation found in the GBC, emphasize the differences so as to further show what is most distinctive in your interpretation and how thoroughly it is inculturated and contextualized.
Prepare your 15-18 double-spaced page paper in 3 parts + a conclusion, after CHOOSING A BIBLICAL BOOK (in consultation with the instructor:  you must have chosen a biblical book by Monday  FEBRUARY 20  10 AM.)
-PART  I- YOUR LIFE CONTEXT , THE GBC LIFE CONTEXT, AND THE TEXT (30%)   
a) Introduction: Identifying the Life-Context in which the Biblical Book Is Interpreted.  Your concrete presentation of the context from which you write.  This sketch underscores those features of your situation which are related to the "contextual questions" that will be raised (see below, b).  These features will be geographical, and also religious, cultural, political, economic, and/or social.   This is either a "I" discourse, but more likely a "we, in this context" discourse. Him
How does your life-context compare with (differ from) the life context of  the GBC commentary on the same book?
b) Analyzing the Life Context, its Problems and the Theological Issues it Raises Regarding the Relationship between the People of God and World.     The Contextual and Theological Questions that focus                 
1) your reading of the biblical book and
2) the GBC reading of the book. 
This involves identifying in each case how “the people of God” is defined and how “the world” is defined, then to proceed to a two-way preliminary analysis of this present-day context in terms of the text and of the text in terms of the present-day context.   This involves in each case:   1) pointing out those specific problems and issues regarding the relationship between the people of God and the world in that context which is highlighted by the text; and 2) identifying the specific passages of the text which are most significant in view of the context and the issues it raises.
1) Considering this life-context from the perspective of the given biblical book as corrective lenses, one can ask:   What are the problems or needs concerning the relationship between the people of God and the world that the People of God should address in this situation for the sake of the world?   For the sake of the people of God and its members?  For instance:   Are these needs related to the religious make up of the society, and concerns the relationship of the people of God to other religions or to a non-religious, secular majority?  Are these cultural needs concerning the world view and the life-style of people in that context?  Educational needs? Social needs concerning justice in this society and its structures of power and authority?  Economic needs (regarding poverty, economic oppression, lack of healthcare)?  Political needs calling for the confrontation of a corrupt political power?
2) Conversely, considering the given biblical book from the perspective of this life-context you also need to ask:  What does this biblical book say regarding the relationship of the People of God to the world in this specific context in which the commentator is?  Does it concern a mission of the People of God toward the world  (toward individuals and communities beyond its borders)?    If so, what kind of mission?  Or, alternately, does it concern the active place and role of the People of God in society and culture (from  which it may not really be regarded as separated)?  Does the biblical book address the relationship of the people of God with political, economic, and social institutions and authorities? What does it say or imply about interactions with other religions?  What are the other concrete or theological issues concerning the People of God in its relationship to the world? 
Most biblical books will contain material addressing many of these issues. You must therefore choose one (or a very few) of these issues, because it is particularly important in your present context.   Is this an issue:  Concerning the relationship between Christian and cultural identity (best addressed with an inculturation approach)?   Concerning social and justice problems (best addressed with a liberation approach)?  Concerning the relationship between Christians and other religions or groups (best addressed with an inter(con)textual approach)?  Concerning the sanctification/sacralization of the world (best addressed through a sacramental/liturgical/religious experience approach). (See the contextual ways of interpreting.)

-PART II-  YOUR CONTEXTUAL COMMENTARY   40%
5%  a) Analysis of  the Text I:   an Overall Presentation of the Biblical Book, so as to  locate in it the passages and textual features that will be discussed in detail. (Use scholarly sources) [[prepared as part of your proposal; might be revised]
35%  b) Analysis of  the Text II:   Commentary upon the  passages that addresses the contextual issues).  (Use scholarly sources!)   It includes
1) an analysis of each passage (highlighting its most significant features, with the help of one or another critical approach:  historical (showing the contextual character of the biblical book),  narrative, structural, literary (in the text) or “in front of the text” (how the text affects its readers);  and
2) comments on the way it addresses or fails to address the issues concerning the relationship  between people of God and the world which were outlined above.

-PART  III-  20%  THE GBC and YOUR COMMENTARY  
Differences with the GBC Interpretation:  a)  What textual features did it emphasize that you did not emphasize or even consider?  What textual features did you emphasize that it did not emphasize or even consider?  b) What are the key theological or ethical concepts (or themes) that you emphasized and that the GBC emphasized?  Which one of the 5 strategies for becoming self-conscious about the contextual character of your biblical interpretation (i.e., of your particular textual choices and particular theological/hermeneutical choices) did you use?  (Note:  this often involves comparing with a few additional interpretations).

PART IV   10% CONCLUSION

  • What will make a convincing teaching of your text for YOUR CONTEXT on the basis of the text.
  • PROBLEM…. Remember… adjust?
  • ROOT PROBLEM  …. Remember… adjust?
  • ROLE OF SCRIPTURE…. Remember… adjust?
  • NOW FORMULATE THE TEACHING
  • SHOW HOW CONTEXTUALIZED IT IS
  • -- choices due to a social economic cultural context
  • -- choices due to textual choices (grounded in text)
  • -- choices due to  religious choices (convictions, etc)

 

SHORT BIBLIOGRAPHY for the biblical book and the contextual issues discussed.

OUTLINE OF PAPER

PART  I- YOUR LIFE CONTEXT, THE TEXT AND THE GBC (30%)

A. MY INTERPRETATION

  • 1. **Tell the story** [200 words] of this (these) Christian believer[s] and of the problem[s] they/he/she face[s] as these believers interact with “the world”  
  • 2. Analysis # 1  What is/are the problem[s]? Which parts of life is involved?
  • 3.  Reading Scripture # 1 
    • What is this book about?  Its different parts?
    • Which parts of it deal with the problem[s];
  • 4.  Strategy # 1:  How to address the problem? Role of Scripture?  Correspond to which traditional view?

B. THE GBC’S INTERPRETATION

  • 1. **Tell the story** OF GBC [200 words] 
  • 2. Analysis #2  IN GBC What is/are the problem[s]? Which parts of life is involved?
  • 3.  Reading Scripture # 2 
    • What is this book about ?  Its different parts? FOR THE GBC (section: "Overview (of the biblical book)"
    • Which parts of it deal with the problem[s];
  • 4.  Strategy # 2:  How to address the problem? Role of Scripture?  Correspond to which traditional view?

 

PART II-  YOUR CONTEXTUAL COMMENTARY   40%

  • 5%  a) Analysis of  the Text I:   an Overall Presentation of the Biblical Book, so as to  locate in it the passages and textual features that will be discussed in detail. [[prepared as part of your proposal; and of your Part I:   might be revised] Expend on Part I A3  by citing  a scholarly source (= Anchor Bible Dic. OR International Bible Commentary, OR Interpreters Bible Dictionary)

 35%  b) Analysis of  the Text II:   Commentary upon the  passages that addresses the contextual issues(Use scholarly sources! Another COMMENTARY as suggested by/agreed with the instructors )   It includes

  • 1) an analysis of each passage (highlighting its most significant features, with the help of one or another critical approach:  historical (showing the contextual character of the biblical book),  narrative, structural, literary (in the text) or “in front of the text” (how the text affects its readers);  and
  • 2) comments on the way it addresses or fails to address the issues concerning the relationship  between people of God and the world which were outlined above.
  • 3) How does this biblical text affect (change, refine) your understanding of the “problem” and “root-problem” and the solution = the TEACHING  needed to address this problem… using YOUR ROLE OF SCRIPTURE and focusing on your THEME

PART III OF PAPER THE GBC and YOUR COMMENTARY  20%

  • Differences with the GBC Interpretation
    • a)  What textual features did it emphasize that you did not emphasize or even consider?  What textual features did you emphasize that it did not emphasize or even consider? 
    • b) Same questions about the key theological or ethical concepts (or THEMES)? 
  • Which one of the 4 approaches did you use and did the CDC use? (inculturation, liberation, inter(con)textual, liturgical)?
  •  Which one of the 5 strategies for becoming self-conscious about the contextual character of your biblical interpretation  did you use? Did CDC use?   (see syllabus Weeks I and II) 

PART IV OF PAPER:  OVERALL CONCLUSIONS   10%

  •  What will make a convincing teaching of your text for YOUR CONTEXT on the basis of the text.
  • PROBLEM…. Remember… adjust?
  • ROOT PROBLEM  …. Remember… adjust?
  • ROLE OF SCRIPTURE…. Remember… adjust?
  • NOW FORMULATE THE TEACHING

Using the role of scripture

  • Lamp to my feet  knowledge (and some will)
  • Rule of the community knowledge and will
  • Good News will (and knowledge of God’s love)
  • Family Album  (involves a Passover-like reciting:  “we” with the main character)  ---
  • Corrective glasses/lenses (recognizing God’s presence with the help of Scripture viewed as promises:  where are the promises fulfilled NOW?)
  • Empowering word  (ability; can be like corrective glasses, recognizing the presence of God ready to help; or recognition that one has received what one needs to do it; or has helpers, etc… how is the text showing this)
  • Holy Bible  (mystical/religious experience)
  • SHOW HOW CONTEXTUALIZED IT IS
    • -- choices due to a social economic cultural context
    • -- choices due to textual choices (grounded in text)
    • -- choices due to  religious choices (convictions, etc)