Academic Programs 

Contextual Interpretation of the Bible   (SC-642)
January Interession and Winter/Spring 2008

Contextual interpretation like other methods of biblical interpretation takes three factors into account in the process of interpreting the Bible: the text, the world that created the text, and the contemporary situation in which interpretation takes place. However, unlike older, more traditional methods, it takes the context of the interpreter as the starting point in the hermeneutical process. Students will examine their own lived contexts and use their analyses to engage with selected texts from the Deuteronomistic History (Joshua to Kings in the Hebrew Bible).

Meeting Day, Time and Dates:
Tuesday 9:00 am —4:00 pm; January 29; February 12; March 4; April 1; April 2

Uriah Kim
Professor of Hebrew Bible

Contact Information:
(860) 509-9564


Course Syllabus

Course Objectives
1. Through this course students will become more familiar with the content and the historical context of the Former Prophets/Deuteronomistic History (Joshua – Kings).
2. Students will examine their own contexts.
3. Students will do a contextual interpretation of a selected passage from the Deuteronomistic History.

Requirements & Grades:
1. Class Presentations: Session 2 to 5 (10% each; total 40% toward the final grade); an outline and a narrative description of each presentation is due on the day of presentation.
2. Research Paper: 15-20 double-spaced pages in length; due two weeks after the last session (60%).

Required Books
• Uriah Y. Kim, Decolonizing Josiah: Toward a Postcolonial Reading of the Deuteronomistic History (Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2005)
• Uriah Y. Kim, A Postcolonial Reading of David: The Politics of Loyalty and Identity in the David Story (Sheffield Phoenix Press, forthcoming; a draft will be distributed in the class)
• J. Maxwell Miller and John H. Hayes, A History of Ancient Israel and Judah (Second Edition; Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 2006)
• Thomas C. Römer, The So-called Deuteronomistic History: A Sociological, Historical, and Literary Introduction (T & T Clark, 2007)
• Gale Yee, ed., Judges and Method (Second Edition; Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2007)
• Czövek, T., Three Seasons of Christimatic Leadership: A Literary-Critical and Theological Interpretation of the Narrative of Saul, David and Solomon (Regnum Studies in Mission; Milton Keynes, United Kingdom: Paternoster, 2006).

Recommended Books
• Daniel Patte et al., eds., Global Bible Commentary (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2004); students are required to read four chapters from this book; no need to purchase.
• Fernando F. Segovia and Mary A. Tolbert, eds., Reading from This Place, Volume 1: Social Location and Biblical Interpretation in the United States (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1995); only one chapter from this book will be used; no need to purchase.


Class Schedule

Session 1: January 29 Examining Contexts

Reading Assignment:
• Segovia and Tolbert, pp. 251-61
Global Bible Commentary, (Introduction) pp. xxi-xxxii
• Miller and Hayes, pp. 439 – 540

Session 2: February 12 The Deuteronomistic History and Its Contexts

Reading Assignment:
• Römer, The So-called Deuteronomistic History
• Kim, Decolonizing Josiah, pp. 1-17

Student Presentations: Contexts for Research Paper

Session 3: March 4 Joshua and Judges

Reading Assignment:
• Joshua & Judges
• Yee, Judges and Method
Global Bible Commentary, pp. 64-85
• Miller and Hayes, pp. 84 – 118
• Kim, Decolonizing Josiah, pp. 18-47

Student Presentations: Passage and Method for Research Paper

Session 4: April 1 1 & 2 Samuel

Reading Assignment:
• 1 & 2 Samuel
• Kim, A Postcolonial Reading of David (handout)
Global Bible Commentary, pp. 92-104
• Miller & Hayes, pp. 119 – 185

Student Presentations: Research Paper Thesis and Outline

Session 5: April 29 1 Kings

Reading Assignment:
• 1 Kings
• Czövek, Three Seasons of Christimatic Leadership
Global Bible Commentary, pp. 105-118
• Miller & Hayes, pp. 186-258

Student Presentations: Research Paper Update

Research Paper due two weeks after the final class session

Hartford Seminary  77 Sherman Street  Hartford, CT  06105   860-509-9500