Based on segments of his introductory course “The Bible as Literature,” currently offered in the English Department at the University of Pittsburgh, Oakland, Fr. Stephen Honeygosky, O.S.B., Ph.D., pastor of St. Benedict’s, will offer a mini-course as part of a Lenten program on five Wednesdays this Lent. This is the second in a three-year series: last year on the Old Testament, this year on St. Luke’s writings, and next year on St. Paul’s letters.
This continuing education mini-course will aim to teach people how to read the Bible (or ‘little library’), as one would read Shakespeare, Whitman, Dickinson, Hawthorne, Woolf, Steinbeck, or any favorite author. Belief is not the basis of this course. One would not have to be a Roman emperor to appreciate shattered dreams in Julius Caesar, a whale-chaser to appreciate compulsive questing in Moby Dick, have one’s beloved murdered to get the most out of a film like Ghost, or to have cancer in order to value and learn an important life lesson from another film like Terms of Endearment.
At the same time, those who do profess a faith rooted in biblical texts will have an opportunity to deepen and broaden their biblical knowledge and, in turn, perhaps their faith. Regardless, all will be able to apply the skill at reading the literature across the spectrum of all biblical literature. This objective approach lets a reader view the Bible, first, as literature — ready to see all that’s there before regarding it personally as one’s own testament of faith.
By handling the various books of the Bible as literature, he would hope to remove it from the proverbial “pedastol,” where it is typically held at such distance, such respect, such awe if not fear, that even believers have too ofen missed the full literary and human power (not to mention divine power, if one is a believer) from the various types of writing found in the Bible. And so, he will aim to bring the Bible very near, making it less obscure, foreign, and disconnected from real life.
Each evening will consist of Vespers at 7 p.m., followed by a presentation, which combines lecture and discussion on selective excerpts from Luke’s gospel and Acts of the Apostles. These meetings, following worship, will begin at 7:30 p.m., in the narthex at the front of the church, concluding at 9 p.m. with light refreshemnts. There is no set charge. The weekly free-will offerings go toward the church’s Renovation Fund.
Participants should bring a Bible along and, for maximum benefit, read the passages indicated beforehand, for the designated evening.
March 7, Gospel of Luke, Chapters 1-9.
March 14, Gospel of Luke: Chapters 10-18.
March 21, Gospel of Luke: Chapters 19-24.
March 28, Acts of the Apostles: Peter and the Community (Chapters 1-12).
April 4, Acts of the Apostles: Paul and the Community (Chapters 15-28).