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Engaging the Bible - Politics, Media, Human Rights and Family: February 26 & 27 The Society of Biblical Literature and Wesley Theological Seminary are hosting a two-day event addressing the resources the Bible brings to pressing public issues.

Themes for discussion include:

  • How do we use the Bible to assist congregations in better discerning perspectives on public issues?
  • How is the Bible being used in political discourse?
  • How do various media use the Gospels?
  • What biblical and theological warrants help religious communities deal more effectively with human rights issues?

The Bible and Religious Leadership in the Twenty-First Century
These conferences gather religious leaders to study the Bible and its use in their professional, congregational and intellectual lives. Each session introduces the latest techniques, publications and other resources. They focus on the most effective use of these resources for personal enrichment and professional responsibilities, such as writing, preaching, teaching, and participating in the public arena.

Panel for Monday, February 26
7 - 7:30 p.m., Reception

7:30 - 9 p.m., Public Panel

This public session will examine how scripture was used by a variety of political figures in the 2006 elections. In addition to a theological assessment of this phenomenon it will offer alternative views of how scripture might be appropriately used in political discourse.

Bruce C. Birch, Dean and Woodrow W. and Mildred B. Miller Professor of Biblical Theology at Wesley Theological Seminary, Presiding
Mike McCurry, Partner, Public Strategies Washington
Shaun Casey, Associate Professor of Christian Ethics and Director of the National Capital Semester for Seminarians, Wesley Theological Seminary

Workshops for Tuesday, February 27
9 a.m. - 3 p.m.

The Gospels and Media
Elizabeth Struthers Malbon, Professor of Religious Studies, Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

This workshop will focus on the importance of context and genre when exploring the texts of the Gospels as well as their expression in storytelling, painting, music, and movies. Workshop segments will include: Telling Mark's Stories, Painting Luke's Stories, Singing Matthew's Stories, Viewing a Gospel Story.

The Bible and Human Rights
Beverly Mitchell, Associate Professor of Historical Theology at Wesley Theological Seminary

This workshop is designed to identify and address some of the foundational biblical and theological principles that govern human rights from Jewish and Christian perspectives. Attention will be given to how a religious community can apply these principles to specific human rights matters.

The Bible and "Family Values"
Julia M. O'Brien, Professor of Old Testament, Lancaster Theological Seminary

Modern debates about families and family values are usually heated: What makes a family? How should members of a family relate to one another? Does the Bible prescribe a particular form of family? In this workshop we'll look at one aspect of these contentious debates: what the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament has to say about the family. We'll try to get a perspective on the contemporary discussion in three ways: (1) by learning how sociologists and scholars think people lived and worked in biblical times; (2) by considering how that information opens up new understandings of biblical stories; and (3) by comparing the economic and social settings of our own lives with those of ancient Israel.

Click here to download the registration brochure.

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