A conversation with noted author, professor of religion and SPU alumnus Timothy Beal
Monday, January 30, 2012, 7:30 pm
Fine Center, First Free Methodist Church, Seattle
3200 3rd Avenue West
Free and wheelchair accessible. Limited seating.
Join us for a lively and robust reimagining of the future of the Bible featuring
Timothy Beal, Ph.D., the Florence Harness professor of religion at Case Western Reserve University and author of The Rise and Fall of the Bible.
With respondents Jeff Keuss, Ph.D., SPU professor of Christian ministry, theology, and culture; and Blake Wood, D.Min., lead pastor, First Free Methodist Church.
Timothy Beal has authored 11 books, including Biblical Literacy: The Essential Bible Stories Everyone Needs to Know and Roadside Religion: In Search of The Sacred, the Strange, and the Substance of Faith, which was a New York Times Book Review Editor’s choice and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s ten Best Religion Books of 2005. He has published essays on religion and American culture in The New York Times, the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Washington Post, and the Cleveland Plain Dealer. He received a B.A. (English) from Seattle Pacific University and a Ph.D. (Old Testament/Hebrew Bible) from Emory University.
On January 30, whom do you hope to see in the audience?
Seattle Pacific University students, for sure, as well as alumni, pastors, other church leaders, and friends. Undoubtedly, there will be a few former professors who know my story.
Can you give us a quick peek at what you’ll be talking about on January 30?
The popular, cultural idea is to think about the Bible as a kind of moral guidebook God wrote to give us all the answers. If we take this approach, we tend to experience a disconnect with God when our expectations of what we think the Bible promises aren’t met. What I want to explore and suggest is this: What if we could approach the Bible, not as an answer book, but rather as a “library of questions” that invites us, as an interpretive community, into the practice of learning to ask good questions?
What does that look like in a classroom discussion, or a church study group?
It can sound like a lot of noise. Encountering Scripture through good questions can generate lots of discussion, even arguments (the Latin root “arguere” means “to make clear”). Yet, this cacophony of many voices can actually be like a sacred hymn raised up to God.
Will you be sharing a few good classroom stories from your time as an SPU student?
Yes, I have stories to tell, and some of the names will be recognizable.
What should we be listening for as you talk about “the future of the Bible”?
First, from a media perspective, our children and grandchildren won’t be reading Scripture in the form of a bound book we’re used to reading today. We’re in a media revolution right now. As we move out of a print book culture into a digital culture of social networking, hyperlinks, and blogs, we need to be asking the question, “How is the Bible going to change?” Jewish tradition and scriptural culture hold some interesting clues about how we can be rediscovering and receiving Scripture in our day.