Understanding the Bible: An Introduction for Skeptics, Seekers and Religious Liberals

The Bible has been said to provide the “DNA” of Western culture. No one can effectively attempt to change that culture without learning how to interpret the Bible in transformative ways. This course welcomes those who feel alienated from the Bible, or who know little of it, except as mediated through interpretations supporting oppression and the status quo. For those already familiar with progressive Biblical interpretation, it can serve as further preparation for intensive study of Hebrew and Christian texts. Advance reading will include not only the instructor’s brief (200 page) book of the same title, but also several texts introducing the development of the Biblical traditions, the Bible in relation to violence, feminist biblical interpretation and Jewish scholarship in relation to Christian origins. Course discussions will use the Beacon Press study guide to the instructor’s book prepared by the Rev. Nancy Palmer Jones. A final paper will be required on a theme or text selected by each student in consultation with the instructor.
Syllabus for this course.
About the Instructor
John Buehrens is a Unitarian Universalist minister who has served congregations in Tennessee, Texas, New York City, Massachusetts and California, and as President of the UUA, 1993-2001. An experienced theological educator, he has taught courses at Harvard Divinity School, Andover Newton Theological School, and Starr King. In addition toUnderstanding the Bible, Buehrens has written A Chosen Faith: An Introduction to Unitarian Universalism [with Forrest Church 1989,1997] , A House for Hope: The Promise of Progressive Religion in the 21st Century [with Rebecca Ann Parker, 2010], and Universalists and Unitarians in America: A People’s History[2011].