Readings from the road: Contextual bible study with a group of homeless and vulnerably-housed people

Susannah Cornwall, David Nixon

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Abstract

Readings from the Road, a British Academy-funded small research project, investigated the use of Contextual Bible Study (CBS) with a group of homeless and vulnerably-housed people at a soup kitchen in South-West England. The transient nature of the homeless community presented particular challenges in using this method, but the non-directive and democratic nature of CBS proved valuable. The authors discuss three themes arising from the study sessions: home and place, judgment and stigmatization, and the figure of Jesus. Participants' linking of biblical themes with their own experiences and broader social events are explored. The authors note that consciously privileging the experience and knowledge of those whose narratives or reading sites are silenced or devalued by mainstream religious traditions is not unequivocally positive, but that the homeless participants' liminal, insider-outsider relationship to the rest of society is a significant factor in their ability to query and subvert established discourses, providing flashes of imagery which might be deemed prophetic. © The Author(s) 2011.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12-19
Number of pages7
JournalExpository Times
Volume123
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011

Keywords

  • Contextual Bible Study
  • hermeneutics
  • home
  • homelessness
  • interpretation
  • Jesus
  • judgement

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