Focus Theology Short Course

Focus Theology Short Course

What Does God Require? Spirituality and Genre in the Bible

Overview: Spirituality can be thought of as a group personality. The Christian church and its Jewish matrix have discovered, invented, and reinvented several specific spiritualities/group personalities within which Christians have channeled their relationships to God. Many of the documents of the Hebrew and Christian scriptures expound and promote these monumental spiritualities of the church. In this course, we will look at four of these spiritualities—the wisdom/mystical, the liturgical, the apocalyptic, and the prophetic. Those who take this course will learn how these spiritualities are embodied in the founding documents of the church and how Christians have recourse to these spiritualities in framing their own understanding of God.

Textbook: Class handouts will be provided. Please bring a Bible to the class sessions.

Instructors: Rev. Canon Bruce Bryant-Scott, Archdeacon Alastair McCollum, Rev. Canon Philip Wadham, Dr. Kem Luther

Location: St. John the Divine, 1611 Quadra Street, Victoria, BC. Parking available at the rear of the church and on the street.

Time: Four Thursdays, 7pm-9pm, beginning February 22, 2018

Session Descriptions

Thursday, February 22, 2018, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. “Apocalyptic Spirituality.” The apocalyptic is a specific genre of Biblical literature first found in post-exilic Jewish writings, further developed in second temple Judaism and the early church, and echoed in millenarian movements throughout the history of the church. It focuses on visions, the end times, and heavenly messengers. We will look at the spirituality embedded in this genre and the role this spirituality plays in the formation of Christian individuals and institutions. Instructor: Rev. Canon Bruce Bryant-Scott

Thursday, March 1, 2018, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. “Liturgy and Faith.” All the major religious traditions generate liturgical frameworks in which believers come together to re-enact the movements of faith. Because it engages the body as well as the mind, the public expression of religion as it flows through the cycles of the calendar and the sacraments of faith has not always been viewed as a distinct spirituality. For many millions of believers, however, liturgical practice, by opening up a spiritual space, has become a road to divine encounter. Both inside the Bible (the Levitical prescriptions of temple worship, for example, and the church liturgies in the pastoral epistles) and outside it (the many manuals of church order and worship in historical Christianity), a large body of literature witnesses to the significance of this spirituality. Instructor: Archdeacon Alastair McCollum

Thursday, March 8, 2018, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. “Prophetic and Social Spirituality.” In the multi-millennial history of Judaism and Christianity, believers have discovered, time and again, that a focus on just action and just living can become a framework for divine encounter. In the decalogue and continuing into the prophetic tradition, we recognize an emphasis on social and spiritual transformation that shapes the journey of those who commit themselves to it. The major and minor prophets of the Hebrew scriptures, books that are a major focus within the gospels and certain New Testament letters (notably that attributed to James) add a literary dimension to prophetic spirituality. Instructor: Rev Canon Philip Wadham

Thursday, March 15, 2018, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm. “Wisdom Literature and the Mystical Journey.” The wisdom books of the Hebrew Scriptures, Job, Proverbs, certain Psalms, and Ecclesiastes/Quohelet (for Jews and Protestant Christians) and Sirach and the Wisdom of Solomon (for Roman Catholics), are only part of a larger tradition of wisdom spirituality that has influenced Judaism and Christianity. Wisdom spirituality calls attention to the wider human picture in which faith occurs. Known as the "documents of Hebrew humanism," wisdom literature uses pithy sayings, insightful analogies and stories, wide-ranging philosophical reflections, and mystical insights to lead its adherents on a journey toward the divine. We will consider in this session how this spirituality manifests itself in both nascent Christianity and classical Judaism. Instructor: Dr. Kem Luther

A one-page flyer for this course that you can print out and post.

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