About The Old Testament/ The Hebrew Bible Exegesis
The Old Testament or The Hebrew Bible has for two millennia been read as a holy text both within Judaism and Christianity. Many of the biblical stories and figures are also found in the Koran. The influence of the biblical texts on art, literature and film is significant. Therefore the biblical texts and their various interpretations may be studied both as religious and cultural expressions, in history as well as in the contemporary era.
To study biblical texts from antiquity in their source languages, as well as their traditions of interpretations, is to gain profound knowledge about how literature is created and changes throughout different historical contexts.
Old Testament or Hebrew Bible Exegesis can be summarized with the following points of departure:
- With regard to the significant religious and cultural influence of the biblical texts, it is important to analyze their making, content and history of interpretation;
- A multitude of theories and methods are used, from classical historical-critical methods to linguistic analyses and ideology-critical methods involving, for example, feminist or post-colonial approaches. Reception studies analyze the plurality of meanings that readers have ascribed to the biblical texts throughout history;
- The inter-disciplinary character of the research field enables collaborations with many other academic fields and networks;
- In sum, Old Testament/Hebrew Bible Exegesis offers a solid knowledge base where a number of different angles generate new perspectives on the biblical texts.
New perspectives and collaborations
The Faculty of Theology at Uppsala University has, as the first university in the Nordic countries, opened up for a change of perspectives within biblical studies, a field that has been influenced by Christian terminology. The discipline that previously was known as Old Testament Exegesis now goes under the parallel title Old Testament/Hebrew Bible Exegesis at Uppsala University. The field is no longer defined only by the study of a part of the Christian Bible, but equally as the study of the foundational text in Jewish tradition. An increased focus on Jewish history of interpretations has taken place together with the establishment of Forum for Jewish Studies (FJS) at The Faculty of Theology in 2013. FJS has a local activity with guest lectures and conferences that has resulted in many new contacts between researchers. The forum has served as inspiration and orientation for aspiring doctoral students. It has also led to a relaunch of the Nordic collaboration within Jewish Studies.
Relevance for society
In the multi-religious society knowledge about religious texts in their original languages becomes all the more important. Exegetical skills are needed to answer the current issues about what is actually written in The Old testament/Hebrew Bible and how this has been interpreted throughout history. For professors, researchers, and doctoral students within this research field, there are many opportunities to partake as experts in the societal and cultural debate, as well as in international networks concerned with the biblical texts and their interpretations, and their influence on our societies.
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