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Biblical Studies: An Asset or Liability for People of Faith?

Volume 1 | June 6, 2022

Gregory E. Sterling, Author

Carl R. Holladay, Author

Richard T. Hughes, Author

Raymond Carr, Author

Amanda Jo Pittman, Author

Theme: Biblical Scholarship, Debate

Discipline: Religious Studies

One of the touchstones of Protestant traditions like the Churches of Christ is the importance of the Bible. Within churches, the Bible is read as Holy Scripture that discloses divine will. Within seminaries and universities, the Bible is read through the lens of biblical studies, and it is evaluated critically. Does biblical studies as a discipline help or hurt the faith of Christians who read the text as Scripture? The exchanges in this modified debate model civil discourse on a contended issue, allowing for productive conversation.

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About Gregory E. Sterling

Gregory E. Sterling is the Rev. Henry L. Slack Dean and the Lillian Claus Professor of New Testament at Yale Divinity School. A specialist in Hellenistic Judaism and Early Christianity, he has focused his research on the interactions of Jews and Christians within the larger Greco-Roman world, especially in the areas of historiography and philosophy. He is the author of three books with a fourth forthcoming, more than 100 scholarly articles and chapters, the editor or co-editor of five books, and the editor or co-editor of three major series that now include 40 volumes.

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About Carl R. Holladay

Carl R. Holladay is a retired professor of New Testament who taught at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology in Atlanta. His recent publications include a volume of collected essays Hellenistic Jewish Literature and the New Testament (2021), Introduction to the New Testament: Reference Edition (2017), and Acts: A Commentary (2016). He served as president of the international Society for New Testament Studies in 2016–17. He now resides in Durham, N.C.

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About Richard T. Hughes

Richard Hughes serves as Scholar in Residence in both the Center for Christianity and Scholarship and the College of Bible and Ministry at Lipscomb University. He has worked at the intersection of religion and American culture over the course of a 50-year career, specializing in the history of Churches of Christ, religion and American identity, religion and race in America, religion and American higher education, and the role of Christian primitivism in American life. He is the author, co-author, or editor of 18 books including Reviving the Ancient Faith: The Story of Churches of Christ in America (Eerdmans, 1996); Myths America Lives By: White Supremacy and the Stories that Give Us Meaning (University of Illinois Press, 2018); and The Grace of Troublesome Questions: Vocation, Restoration, and Race (Abilene Christian University Press, 2022).

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About Raymond Carr

Raymond Carr is Research Associate and Director of the Codex Charles H. Long Papers Project at the Moses Mesoamerican Archive and Research Project, Harvard University. His book, Theology in the Mode of Monk: An Aesthetics of Barth and Cone on Revelation and Freedom, is scheduled for release by Cascade Books.

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About Amanda Jo Pittman

Amanda Jo Pittman is Associate Professor and the Associate Chair of the Department of Bible, Missions, and Ministry at Abilene Christian University. Her research at the intersection of Christian practice and the New Testament appears in Religious Education, Restoration Quarterly, and The International Journey of Christianity & Education. Her scholarship seeks to integrate the insights of practical theology and New Testament Studies, particularly of Luke and Acts, in service of Christian formation.

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