Our spring 2014 discussion series will focus on parables from a diversity of disciplines. How do biblical scholars, ethicists, theologians, historians, or philosophers approach the reading of the biblical parables? What are the most important questions to bring to the text? And how does one go about addressing those questions? During this series each session will have two presenters from different disciplines who will briefly comment before leading the group in a discussion on the chosen parable. Come check it out!


1. February 5th: Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32)

Presenters: Samantha Miller and Chris Gooding

 2. February 19th: Parable of the Vineyard (Isaiah 5:1-7)

Presenters: Dr. Matthew Neujahr and Nathan Willowby

3.  March 5th: Parable of the Workers (Matthew 20:1-16)

Presenters: Dallas Flippin and D. Glenn Butner

4. March 19th: Parable of Two Eagles and a Vine (Ezekiel 17:1-10)

Presenters: Dr. Deirdre Dempsey and Duane Loynes

5. April 2nd: Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:1-23; Mark 4:1-20; Luke 8:1-15)

Presenters: Dr. Hills and Dr. Stephen Long

 6. April 16th: Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31)

Presenters: Eric Vanden Eykel and Dr. Lyle Dabney

This semester, Marquette Scripture Project is engaging the challenging topic of violence. We welcome participants from across disciplines to share how their respective fields might provide a helpful interpretive lens for considering these difficult texts. All discussion sessions are on Wednesdays from Noon to 1:00pm.

September 18: Sacrifice of Isaac, Part I

Read: Genesis 22:1-19
Facilitator: Rick Barry
Room: AMU 448

October 2: Sacrifice of Isaac, Part II

Read: Genesis 22:1-19
Facilitator: Dr. Sharon Pace
Room: AMU 448

October 16: Sacrifice of Jephthah’s Daughter

Read: Judges 11
Facilitator: Dr. Wanda Zemler-Cizewski
Room: Cudahy 114

October 30: Genocide (herem)

Read: Joshua 6
Facilitator: Joe Gordon
Room: AMU 380

November 13: Massacre at the Apostate City (herem)

Read: Deuteronomy 13:12-18
Facilitator: Karen Keen
Room: Cudahy 114

December 4: Apocalyptic Violence

Read: Revelation 19:11-20:14
Facilitator: Tyler Stewart
Room: AMU 448

Marquette Scripture Project is kicking off the semester with an intriguing discussion series on Scripture and interpretation! We are 1.) exploring the history of Christian understandings of the nature of Scripture and the norms of Christian exegesis (especially focusing on what the authors of the New Testament themselves suggest), and 2.) examining what normative beliefs and interpretive practices should guide Christian understanding of and interpretation of Scripture today.  Please see the schedule below, along with details for each session (suggested readings and questions to contemplate). Questions? Contact Karen at karen.keen@marquette.edu.

All sessions are on Wednesdays from 10:45am-11:45am

  • Jan. 30: “Scripture in Tradition”, AMU 252
  • Feb. 13: “Christian Revelation and Scripture,” Henke Lounge
  • Feb. 27: “Scripture and the Churches,” AMU 254
  • Mar. 20: “The Two Testaments’ Relation,” AMU 252
  • Apr. 3: “Traditional Exegesis and Historical Method,” AMU 252
  • May 1: “Theological Ends in Traditional Exegesis,” AMU 364

1. January 30th: Scripture in Tradition

Suggested reading: 2 Timothy 3:14-4:5, 2 Peter 1:16-21, and de Lubac’s “Forward” in Scripture in the Tradition (pp. vii-ix).

Questions for discussion: What is Christian Scripture? What kinds of questions/topics would a Christian theology of Scripture need to address? What are the “constants in Christian exegesis”?

2. February 13th: Christian Revelation and Scripture

Suggested reading: Hebrews 1:1-4; Colossians 2:1-19, and de Lubac’s Scripture in the Tradition pp. 100-112.

Questions for discussion: What is distinctively Christian about the Christian belief in divine revelation? What is its content? (And is this previous question even a legitimate one). How are revelation and Scripture related? How do Protestants and Catholics differ in their answers to these questions?

3. February 27th Scripture and the Churches

Suggested Reading: Ephesians 2:11-3:20; 1 Peter 2:1-17, de Lubac’s Scripture in the Tradition pp. 113-129.

Questions: How is(are) the Church(es) related to Israel in the Scriptures? What role does(do) the Church(es) play in the interpretation and dissemination of Scripture? What role should the Church(es) play in the interpretation of Scripture?

4. March 20th: The Two Testaments’ Relation

Suggested reading: Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 8:1-13; Matthew 5:17-48 (see also Romans 9-11), de Lubac’s Scripture in the Tradition pp. 173-182.

Questions for discussion: How are the Old and New Testaments related to one another? Is Christianity inherently supercessionistic?

5. April 3rd: Traditional Exegesis and Historical Method

Suggested Reading: 1 Corinthians 15:1-11; Luke 24:13-35; Acts 8:26-40, de Lubac’s Scripture in the Tradition pp. 24-31.

Questions: Given that the human authors of Scripture do not abide by the canons of modern or post-modern historiography, in what sense is what they write historical? What functions and goals do modern historical approaches to the Bible have? What role do the aforementioned approaches play in Christian faith and life? Can historical investigation overturn doctrinal beliefs of Christian communities? Should it be allowed to do so?

6. May 1st: Theological Ends in Traditional Exegesis: Allegory and Typology

Suggested Reading: John 5:30-46; Galatians 4:21-31; Corinthians 10:1-13, de Lubac’s Scripture in the Tradition pp. 11-24.

Questions: From whence did allegory come? Is there a difference between Christian allegorical interpretation and other forms of premodern allegorical/symbolic interpretation (Jewish, “pagan”, etc.)? Is allegorical exegesis still permissible/viable/useful? If so, what is its appropriate context?

Marquette Scripture Project Presents

Creation: Genesis and John

Join us to discuss the historical and theological roots of

Genesis 1:1-2 and John 1:1-2

Every other Thursday from 12:30-1:30pm

  • Sept 20th,  AMU 448,  Karen Keen

  • Oct 4th,  Henke Lounge,  Dr. Deirdre Dempsey

  • Oct 18th,  Library Conference Room A,  Dr. Michael Barnes

  • Nov 1st,  AMU 254,  Paul Pasquesi

  • Nov 15th,  Henke Lounge,  Dr. Andrei Orlov

  • Nov 29th,  Henke Lounge,  Stephen Waers

  • Dec 6th,  Henke Lounge,  Fr. William Kurz

(Image courtesy of Manostphoto / Free Digital Photos.net)

The chief task of Christian theology is exegesis. The reason for that is devastatingly simple: ‘Jesus Christ as he is attested to us in Holy Scripture is the one Word of God.’ Theology is exegesis because its matter is Jesus Christ as he communicates himself through Holy Scripture. And so attention to Holy Scripture is not only a necessary but also – in a real sense – a sufficient condition for theology, because Scripture itself is not only necessary but also sufficient. One way of writing the history of modern theology would be to trace the sad fate of Scripture’s sufficiency and its reduction to merely necessary status. The counter to this is: exegesis, exegesis and exegesis. The task of exegesis is far too important to be devolved upon biblical technicians. But if modern theology demonstrates a failure on this score, it does not lie primarily on the part of the guild of biblical scholars, but on the part of dogmatic theologians, who have all too often abdicated responsibility for exegesis, and rested content with genres and modes of argument which have encouraged the conceptual takeover of the biblical gospel. Christian theology is properly evangelical, because it is generated by the gospel. But part of securing that evangelical character will be recovering a rhetoric for theology which simply lets Scripture be. Work on that task – which, in their different ways, Barth and Bonhoeffer also deemed theology’s central preoccupation – is scarcely begun.

- John Webster, “Reading the Bible: The Example of Barth and Bonhoeffer”

“My heart has become like melting wax in my belly.” By his belly Jesus means the weak in his Church. How did his heart become like wax? His heart is his Scripture, or rather his wisdom in the Scriptures. But Scripture was closed. Nobody understood it. When the Lord was crucified, it began to flow freely like wax, so that all the weak could understand Scripture. As a result of the crucifixion even the veil of the temple was torn, because what had previously been veiled was now revealed.

-St Augustine on Psalm 22.14

“It is certainly true that one should teach nothing outside of Scripture pertaining to divine matters, as St Hilary writes in On the Trinity Book I, which means only that one should teach nothing that is at variance with Scripture. But that one should not use more or other words than those contained in Scripture–this cannot be adhered to, especially in a controversy and when heretics want to falsify things with trickery and distort the words of Scripture. It thus became necessary to condense the meaning of Scripture, comprised of so many passages, into a short and comprehensive word, and to ask whether [the Arians] regarded Christ as homoousios, which was the meaning of all the words of Scripture that they had distorted with false interpretations among their own people, but had freely confessed before the emperor and the council. It is just as if the Pelagians were to try to embarrass us with the term ‘original sin’ or ‘Adam’s plague’ because these words do not occur in Scripture, though Scripture clearly teaches the meaning of these words, that we are ‘conceived in sin’ (Ps 51.5), that we are ‘by nature children of wrath’ (Eph 2.3), and that we must all be accounted sinners ‘because of the sin of one man’ (Rom 5.12).”

Luther, On the Councils and the Church (LW 41, pp. 83-84)


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