Study of practical biblical interpretation in a congregational setting

Project Number: 
Start Date: 
Thursday, October 1, 1992
End Date: 
Saturday, September 30, 1995

Ernest Hess tested the usefulness of a model of theological education called "practical biblical interpretation" for disclosing operative theologians in American congregations. Drawing on the work of Hans-Georg Gadamer, Hess, a visiting lecturer at Princeton Seminary, had developed an educational approach to teaching the Bible that includes a distinctive capacity to uncover assumptions, interests, and presuppositions on the part of the learner. With this grant, Hess studied and participated in the life of a Presbyterian congregation for 18 months. Two courses were to be offered: "Adventures in Bible Study" and "The Disciplines and Practices of the Christian Life." Researchers examined the congregation to improve understanding of the factors that shape the lives of mainline congregations.