The Bible is fundamental to Christianity. In this course, you will understand how the Bible has been understood through the ages.
The importance of the Bible cannot be overstated: Jesus and the earliest Christians shaped their self-identity from its pages, medieval monks spent countless hours meditating on the sacred words, and reformers have been inspired by its radical message to speak the truth of the Gospel. While its message has unified believers through the centuries, debates about biblical interpretation have also caused divisions amongst the faithful.
How should we approach this book of such spiritual power? This 24-lecture course guides you through over two millennia of biblical interpretation. You will explore the most important ways people have read the Bible in ancient history and in modern times.
After looking at how early Christians inherited scriptural approaches from Judaism, you will explore the tradition of allegorical interpretation in antiquity and the Middle Ages. Next, you will survey the important movements of scholasticism, the Renaissance, the Protestant Reformation, and the Enlightenment, which led to profound debates about the nature of the authority of the Bible and the Church.
Finally, you will consider the current state of biblical interpretation, where many different voices are being heard. By learning about the history of biblical interpretation, you will be better able to approach the Bible today.
Learn about downloadable programs.
Your Free Electronic Study Guide! When you order this course, we will send you a free electronic study guide that you can access in 3 convenient ways:
1) You can check your order confirmation email. It will include a link that enables you to download your guide.
2) The back of your program package also contains a copy of this link. You can access your guide by simply entering this URL into your browser.
3) Your case of CDs or DVDs will contain a copy of your electronic guide on CD. Simply insert this disc into your computer's CD/DVD drive to access your guide.
About Your Presenter
David Zachariah Flanagin, Ph.D., is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at Saint Mary’s College of California, where he teaches courses in the development of Christian thought and in biblical studies. His teaching has earned him recognition by the student body as Faculty Member of the Year. Prof. Flanagin received his doctorate in the History of Christianity from the Divinity School at the University of Chicago. He is the author of a number of articles on late-medieval ecclesiology and biblical interpretation. He is the co-editor (with Christopher M. Bellitto) of Reassessing Reform: An Historical Investigation into Church Renewal, published by Catholic University of America Press. In addition to his academic duties, he lectures frequently at churches on topics in biblical theology.
Theme I: The Birth of Christian Interpretation
- Introduction: The Importance of Interpretation
- The Beginnings of Christian Interpretation: The Jewish Matrix, Part 1
- The Beginnings of Christian Interpretation: The Jewish Matrix, Part 2
- The Beginnings of Christian Interpretation: The Jewish Matrix, Part 3
- Christ Is the Key: Prophetic Interpretation of the Old Testament
- A Shadow of What Is To Come: Typological Interpretation
Theme II: Spiritual/Allegorical Interpretation
- Introduction to Allegory
- The Logic of Allegory
- Allegory as Spiritual Practice
- The Problems with Allegory and Its Boundaries
Theme III: Literal Interpretation
- The Rise of the Literal Sense
- Sola Scriptura
- Perspicuity and Fragmentation
Theme IV: The Enlightenment and Historical Criticism
- The Dawn of Modernity
- Baruch Spinoza
- Modern Interpretation
- The Quest for the Historical Jesus
- Responses to Enlightenment Exegesis
- Fundamentalism and the Bible
- Fundamentalist Exegesis
- Modern Catholics and the Bible
Theme V: Postmodernity
- The Postmodern World
- Feminist Biblical Exegesis
- Theological Biblical Interpretation