Reading with Artists: image and text


In Reading the Bible Around the World we have attended to three worlds: the literary world the biblical text creates, the historical world from which it comes, and the contemporary world of the readers.

We have been in conversation with biblical scholars from various places and whose scholarship is explicit about the ways their own context informs their reading of the text. Often they also discuss the challenges the text poses to their world. Some approach the Bible with suspicion, some expecting to find a word of comfort. Some point to the gaps between their situation and the world from which the Bible comes, others find resonances.

Along with the scholarly tools of historical and literary study, we also engage our imaginations in our interpretive work. Visual artists help us to do this. Each one makes choices about what to focus on, which details to include or leave out, about composition and color and light. Paying careful attention to these ‘readings’ draws us into a conversation with both the image and the text.

Each student has selected a biblical passage, conducted research about that text, and written a brief commentary. They also selected an image and wrote about what the artist’s work contributes to their own interpretation of the passage. Their images and comments are displayed here.