Critical Theories and the New Testament

Code: NT622

Dates: July 8, 2024 - July 12, 2024

Time: 2:00 pm for 3 hours

Critical Theories (specifically Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality) have been maligned in some seminary contexts. This class will delve into the theoretical foundations of critical social theorists as potential lenses for performing exegesis both of New Testament texts and societal realities. We will examine critical theory, postmodernist philosophies, feminist theory, multiculturalism, queer theory, masculinity studies, cultural studies, critical race social theories, postcolonial interpretations, and womanist thought in relation to the New Testament. We will deal with the relationship between critical theory, critical social theories, and religion. We will compare critical theories, critical social theories, and their responses in the context of the current religious nationalism occurring in the Americas.

This course will enable students to articulate the various meanings of theory from traditional theory, critical theory, and critical social theories such as critical race theory, postcolonial theory, intersectionality, queer theory, etc. Additionally, students will demonstrate a capacity to understand, interrogate, and synthesize an awareness of how critical theories may serve as a lens for reading New Testament texts. Self-awareness will emerge regarding identities, and communities in relationship to how reading biblical texts with critical theoretical lenses can provide language to transform society. We will ask what the church’s (and minister’s) role is in this transformation. Students will gain an understanding of the complexities of theological and cultural systems within the biblical text.

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