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There seem to be two irreconcilable approaches to reading the Bible, and these often collide in an undergraduate’s first college class in religion. Students from a devotional background find the scholarly approach a disappointment compared with their preferred way of reading. Yet upon closer examination the limits of an exclusively devotional way or an exclusively academic way soon become apparent. A way beyond this impasse is described as an incarnational approach, which seeks to honor the integrity of the literary, cultural, and historical features of the Bible while also taking seriously the personal faith of both student and instructor. This strategy is not original of course, but is a case study of a way in which the Christian tradition may address the quarrel between two competing ways of reading and turn it into a conversation.


Originally published in Teaching Theology & Religion, (2003). Vol. 6 Issue 4, p190. 7p. doi:10.1111/1467-9647.00174.

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