This course, taught by Professor N.T. Wright, is designed to take students into the realm of what a 'worldview' is. While most people think about 'beliefs' and 'actions', the real power behind each is the interplay that occurs within a person's or society's worldview. Understanding this worldview, particularly of the world of the New Testament, will assist students of the Bible in understanding what a New Testament text meant in its own context. Prof. Wright will describe the worldviews of the first century Romans, Jews, and Christians. He will then move through history to describe the Western worldview as a way of helping students discern where they fit and how to look at and through their own lenses in the 21st century. Prof. Wright will be joined by Prof. David Seemuth who will look at the U.S. worldview of the early 21st century as an outgrowth and reaction to the Western worldview that emerged from the Enlightenment period.
This is a summary description of the Worldview Diagram that will be used during the course. It will help set the stage for further study. In Lecture 4, the diagram is expanded to show more detail. But here the basics are given to show the interplay between Story/Symbols/Praxis/Questions.
In this Worldview Diagram, the concept is expanded to show more of the specifics under each of the main headings. It may seem a bit repetitive from the previous diagram, but in this diagram we wish you to notice the elements that make up the main themes in the diagram. It is also a good diagram to print off if you wish to follow along as the video lectures describe the individual items.
This is the first of many activities to help us understand how the ideas raised in our discussion of worldview will help inform our understanding of the Bible. This is a starting point. Here we look at Matthew 2:1-18 to see how we can view a text with the help of the worldview diagram to better understand the meaning of the text.
This is our second look at the biblical text with the viewpoint of allowing our understanding of worldviews to add light to the meaning of the text. Here we look at two points where Luke shows Jesus at the Temple. The first is as an infant; the second is when he was twelve years old. Again, some of our questions we ask will directly relate to the worldviews diagram.
The third encounter with Scripture is a brief one, though full of significance. We look at John 5:39-40. In this section we see how important Torah is for the Jew and how Jesus confronts a narrow-viewed idea of Scripture. Again, we allow our understanding of worldview help discern the meaning of the text in proper context.
Our next encounter with Scripture is the narrative of Jesus in Nazareth after his temptation in the wilderness in Luke 4:14-30. We will find various aspect of worldview entering into view as we try to understand the biblical text.
In this look at the biblical text, we look at John 7:1-52. This is our largest selection of the biblical material thus far. There are several aspects of worldview at work. The challenge is to separate them and see how the different worldviews of the characters in the narrative provide insight into the overall narrative of Jesus as Messiah.
In this section of Encounter with Scripture we look at Paul's letter to the Galatians. In this, what some consider Paul's earliest letter, the assertion is made the the make-up of the 'family of God' has been more properly explained in light of Jesus' death and resurrection. As a result, the worldview one is urged to have is an 'in-Christ' or 'in-Messiah' worldview.
This selection of Scripture, 2 Corinthians 5:11-21, provides a wonderful glimpse into how Paul sees as an in-Christ worldview. We can continue to fill out our understanding of how this new reality of what it is to be in Christ should impact our lives.
In the first chapter of Brian Walsh's book, Subversive Christianity, Brian compares and contrasts the modern Western worldview with the idea of the in Messiah people being a subversive force in the culture. He also presents a comparison of the ancient Babylonian story of origins with the Genesis story. The goal here, again, is to identify the worldviews at work to better diagnose where we are in the comparison and contrasts.
In Chapter Two you will continue to interact with the Worldview Diagram for the Western diagnosis worldview and for the subversive Christian worldview. You will include the insights obtained from the diagnosis Brian makes in Chapter Two.
In Chapter Three we now Include the insights obtained from the comparison Brian Walsh makes in his discussion between Francis Fukuyama and the prophet Jeremiah. Again, this helps us refine our understanding of 'What time it is' for the in Messiah people.
In this description of Chapter Four, we gain insights obtained from the input Brian Walsh makes while highlighting Paul and Silas along with the prophet Jeremiah.
In the postscript to the original book, Brian Walsh adds words of encouragement and hope for people who see themselves living in exile in the present day. In this way we can add further to the diagrams of what it means to have a worldview of an in Messiah person.
Here you will find a description of the final project for the course. This is optional, but we encourage you to engage in a thoughtful manner to consider the implications of this material. The goal is transformation by the renewing of the mind.
N.T Wright received his BA, MA and PHD from Oxford University. He taught New Testament at Cambridge, McGill and Oxford Universities 1978-1993. He was Dean of Lichfield, then Canon of Westminster, then Bishop of Durham (Church of England), 1994-2010. Since 2010 Prof. Wright has been Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at the University of St Andrews, Scotland. He has published over 75 books and hundreds of articles. Prof. Wright recently received the Burkitt Medal from the British Academy for services to New Testament scholarship. He enjoys writing, lecturing, mentoring students and an occasional round of golf. He delights in spending time with his family in the midst of a busy schedule of writing and traveling.
David Seemuth has a Ph.D. from Marquette University in the field of Religious Studies with an emphasis on New Testament Theology. He has taught at the graduate level for over 25 years at numerous universities and seminaries. He also has 16 years of on-line teaching experience. His passion is to see that people not only understand the Scripture, but also apply them to daily life.