Today’s class focused on the Narrative Exegesis Method. However, since the teacher was teaching this topic from the ‘middle’ ie… assuming that the class new what the basic hermeneutical debates/discussions was, it was a little confusing.

The main point of the class was that there are multiple ways to exegete a passage; exegesis being once defined as ‘bringing the text to life on its own terms’; and narrative criticism is just one of them.

However, because of Dr. Babu’s lecture was on the narrative method alone, and because most of the students didn’t seem to see it as just one ‘possible’ approach, I feel he left the students a little confused.

So was I confused? Not really, simple because I have studied Narrative/literary criticism extensively. And so I was able to see this larger picture as well.

In fact, I can see once again, how biblical studies department relies so much on theology, and yet takes theology (hermeneutical discussion) for granted and goes straight into textual exegesis. No wonder there is a such a dichotomy in the field and such little conversation.

I strongly believe that there should be certain foundational theological courses for the MTh level (first up).

Firstly, methodology (which is more than formatting methods like Turabian etc). This course would be something like Theological Method, which Dr. Chris Barrigar did at SAIACS.

Secondly, Hermeneutics, modelled along the lines of Dr. Stephanie Black’s Advanced Hermeneutics Class.

Thirdly, Historiography. A course that deals specifically with issues related to dealing with historical data. While this could fall under method, I believe the course would be modelled like a history of YOUR SUBJECT course, where the main focus would be to learn the historical antecedents of your discipline. This course would be in two sections…
i. The common elements…
like understanding the patristics/reformation periods…
Seeing what/how we can glean information from them…
ii. The unique discipline-oriented elements….
Where the student would see historical issues in his/her particular discipline.

Perhaps a college like SAIACS would like to include “Spiritual Formation” as a foundational course as well. I’m a little hesitant about that… at least the way such courses are shaped… but perhaps a modified version of spiritual formation with emphasis on alternative spirituality models… challenging us at our core spirituality… would be benefitial. But certainly not as a academic-oriented (with research/articles exercise).

OK. Dreams are dreams, and the reality is that this kind of grounding is usually a luxury and we have to learn these foundational skills as-and-when-we-can.

Enough of this. I head on to my own exegesis paper which I need to finish by Friday (to be presented on Monday).