The Bible in Culture and Community

This course is required for all first year St. Olaf  students.   It is taught in multiple sections in which each instructor defines the topic that focuses the specific section.

For several years my sections, “Reading the Bible Around the World,” paid attention to the three worlds of the Bible, namely the historical world from which it comes and that it portrays, the literary world it makes, and the multiple worlds of its readers. In particular we engage in conversation with readers in the “global south.”  And we give attention to visual responses to the texts.  In doing so we learn about and from the Bible, the people we read with, and ourselves.

My current sections, “Word and Pictures,” engage in what Cheryl Exum calls visual criticism as we read the biblical text in conversation with visual artists. 

In 2014 we considered various artists’ responses to the book of Job.

Ten biblical passages were the basis of student presentations that considered artists’ context and their response to the text.

Reading the Bible with Artists around the World

Fall 2016 students worked in groups to prepare exhibits putting works by several artists into conversation with a biblical passage.

Not available for public viewing.

turning water into wine

Students in the spring 2017 section each wrote a commentary and produced an on-line exhibit for a biblical text of their choice. The commentary followed the format used by The Global Bible Commentary. Student exhibits are not available for public viewing. Here is an example.