Westar Institute Bible Seminar: The Bible and Society

Questions Raised by Arthur J. Dewey

1.    Dewey on Christian anti-semitism – takes this on the road.
2.    These issues are interconnected.
3.    Does the Bible still have currency in the post-modern world?  Is it relevant
a.    The bible as a spur to violence.  Violence seems imbedded.
b.    Delight for vengeance.
c.    What do we do with texts of terror?
d.    Bible, film, and electronic media: Film has become the modern bible.
e.    Electronics have produced a sea change
f.    The bible and GLBT: The bible is used to condemn this – a lethal message.
g.    What can and should a responsible reader say about homosexuality?
h.    The bible seems to support the maintenance of patriarchy
i.    Has the momentum of history moved beyond?  Is the bible still a resource?
j.    The bible and authority – who speaks for the bible today
k.    The Bible and the American myth.  The American rugged violent individualism counters the non-violence in the Bible.
l.    The Bible and debt.  Religious entitites have avoided this question of metaphors and assumptions of debt.
m.    The Bible and the denial of death.  Can the bible be read without illusion?
n.    The Bible vs. science.  Readers construct myth from fragments
o.    The Bible and other religions.  Intolerance and tribalism are rampant.


1.    Most questions seem to be of equal value; however a consensus did form around J as a first priority: Can the bible be read meaningfully within a scientific perspective

Associate Questions

1.    What about the Poor: Distributive Justice
2.    What to do about over-population
3.    How did Jesus respond to his society and how can we learn from his response?
4.    What difference does the historical Jesus make in our society
5.    What does the bible say about Racism
6.    Is there a difference between what Jesus would say and what the Bible says as a whole.
7.    Compare and contrast the differences between OT views and Jesus’ views on war and peace; violence and non-violence.
8.    In looking at the OT how can we reaffirm or reclaim Jewish sources?

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