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IntroducIng the contextual orIentatIon to BIBle: a comparatIve Study



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Contextual O rientation to bible Bridging Initiative Working Paper No 3 1 Introducing the Contextual Orientation to Bible A Comparative Study Jon A Levisohn The Initiative on Bridging Scholarship and Pedagogy in Jewish Studies Working Paper No 3 May 2006 This is a preprint of an article whose final and definitive form has been published in the Journal of Jewish Education 2009 Taylor and Francis and is available online at http www tandfonline com doi abs 10 1080 15244110701873177 Brandeis University Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education MS 049 P O Box 549110 Waltham MA 02454 9110 www brandeis edu mandel Contextual O rientation to bible Bridging Initiative Working Paper No 3 1 Introducing the Contextual Orientation to Bible A Comparative Study Jon A Levisohn Abstract In what Barry Holtz has called the contextual orientation to the teaching of Bible the teacher strives to present the Bible in its original context and to promote the students understanding of its meaning in that context But what does teaching within this orientation actually look like What are its central features its pedagogical objectives What choices do teachers make within this orientation This paper pursues these questions via a comparative study of how one teacher introduces the Bible in two settings a university Bible course and an adult Jewish education setting A Introduction Much of what we know about the teaching of Bible is anecdotal based on our experiences or limited impressions of the experiences of others What is important to teachers of Bible in different settings and for different kinds of students What decisions do teachers make and on what basis What does teaching Bible actually look like Those who teach Bible themselves and especially those who are involved with the education of teachers surely have ideas about these questions but we have almost no research literature on the subject 1 The recent publication of Textual Knowledge Teaching the Bible in Theory and Practice by



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