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CONTEXTUAL HERMENEUTICAL APPROACHES TO THE BIBLE

EXAMINATION AND QUESTIONS

• Students prepare and answer four questions in total


• Students choose one question from the General Background section and answer the
two assigned questions, one from the Hebrew Bible section and one from the New
Testament section. Students are then free to choose a fourth question from either
the Hebrew Bible or New Testament sections (if the question you have chosen to
prepare coincides with one of the assigned questions, please ask the examiner for an
alternative question).
• Use the material in the Reader as the basis for preparing your questions and feel free
to include personal critical reflection. The exam, however, is NOT open book.

I. GENERAL BACKGROUND (1 QUESTION)

1. How does Brian Doyle locate contextual and hermeneutical approaches to the bible in his
text “Don’t Fear the Reader”?

2. How does David Clines locate contextual and hermeneutical approaches to the bible in his
text “The Pyramid and The Net”?

3. How does Fernando Segovia (“And They Began to Speak in Other Tongues”) explain the
emergence of contextual biblical hermeneutics? How is the biblical text treated in his
presentation of the development of biblical criticism up to the present times?

II. HEBREW BIBLE (1 QUESTION)

1. What are the primary features of Reader Response theory and why is it significant for the
transition from the historical critical to the postmodern in biblical exegesis? Illustrate your
answer on the basis of either Sylvia Fishman’s “Reading Esther” or David Clines’ “A World
Established on Water.”

2. What are the primary questions and concerns brought to the texts by the Queer Reader
according to Ken Stone, Jeremy Punt and Ann B. Dobie? Illustrate what this implies on the
basis of Stuart MacWilliam’s “Queering Jeremiah”, Stephen Moore’s “The Song of Songs in
the History of Sexuality” or Karin Hügel’s “Eine queere Lektüre von Josef.”

3. Explain the questions and concerns of the Ecocritical Reader based on the work of Ann B.
Dobie and Norman Habel. Illustrate your understanding of this approach to the Bible on the
basis of Theodore Heibert’s “Air: The First Sacred Thing?” or Hilary Marlow’s “The Other
Prophet: The Voice of the Earth in the Book of Amos.”

4. What are the questions and concerns involved in a Psychological/Psychanalytical reading


of the Bible? Base your analysis on the work of Ann B. Dobie, Stephen Moore’s
“Psychoanalytical Criticism & the Bible” and Andrew Kille’s “Psychology and the Bible: Three
Worlds of the Text”. Illustrate your answer on the basis of Stuart Lasine’s “Jonah’s
Complexes”.

III. NEW TESTAMENT (1 QUESTION)

1. Expound on the key areas of the Normativity of the Future approach according to
Bieringer & Elsbernd using 1 Cor 11:17-34, as presented in Ibita’s article. In what way does
this kind of future-oriented reading also manifest a liberationist stance? What are the
advantages and/or disadvantages of this kind of reading?
2. Which are the basic features of Liberationist Hermeneutics? What are the common
themes found in Tamez and Rohrbaugh’s readings that qualify them as liberationist
readings? What is the warning against liberationist or materialist reading? Is it justified or
not? Why?
3. Explain Rohrbaugh’s exposition of the Parable of the Talent using the Social-Scientific
approach. How does this historical methodology shed light on the world behind the text in a
way which informs and helps a liberationist reading of the Bible?
4. Compare and contrast Mary Magdalene in the Gospels using a Narrative approach of
characterization and a Feminist perspective. How do these various characterizations help
correct the mistaken claim that she was a prostitute?
5. Using the Johannine Passion Narrative, explain the three levels of Post-Colonial Biblical
Criticism in the Philippine setting according to Vargas’ interpretation. Which features are
similar to your own context? Which ones differ?
6. According to Levine what are the “disease” and “diagnosis and course of treatment”
related to some Feminist and Post-Colonial readings? Compare and contrast her position to
two other feminist scholars in the Roundtable article. What is Levine’s response to the points
raised by her dialogue partners? Which aspects of the discussion are most relevant in your
own context and why?
7. Which general features are found in both Liberationist and Feminist hermeneutics of the
Bible? Explain them using a narrative characterization of Mary, the mother of Jesus, in Luke
1 following Mark Allan Powell’s steps in narrative criticism. Which key features of the
Normativity of the Future approach can be used in your resulting interpretation?
8. Describe briefly a Trauma Hermeneutics of the Bible. Compare and contrast the way
trauma hermeneutics has been used in Rambo’s and Dube’s articles. How does trauma
theory illumine the passion narrative of Jesus from the perspective of the world behind the
text, the world of the text and the world before the text?
9. How can the psalms, the lament literature and passion narratives help in addressing
situations of trauma? Give an example according to Brueggemann’s proposal. In what way
do Trauma Hermeneutics and Brueggemann’s approach relate to the Normativity of the
Future approach?
IV. 1 question from either the Hebrew Bible or New Testament sections (if the question
you have chosen to prepare coincides with one of the assigned questions, please ask the
examiner for an alternative)