Centre for the Study of Bible and Contexts
The Centre for the Study of Bible and Context(s) engages in cutting edge academic research: the interaction between socio-cultural and socio-economic factors as well as established traditions of reading on the one hand and scriptural interpretation on the other hand. In particular, it does so by researching the hermeneutical and transformative potential that the encounter between diverse communities of interpretation has.
Methodologically, the Centre’s research is empirical in nature, in the sense that “real” (i.e. both contemporary and historical) interpretations of sacred scriptures are analyzed. In terms of its academic setting, the place of the Centre immediately appears as interdisciplinary. While it uses insights from the biblical disciplines, it also goes beyond it, because it focuses on “real” communities of interpretation and their readings. At the same time, it also goes beyond much research into intercultural theology and missiology, because of its close connection with research in biblical disciplines as it is conducted in other academic contexts. The Centre will develop coherent and focused activities in the fields of teaching and research with an eye to a fruitful interaction between both.
One of its activities is the “Bridging Gaps” program. The foreign students participating in this three months exchange program embody diversity, both amongst themselves and as a group within the academic communities of PThU and VU. Their presence is hermeneutically extraordinarily valuable and will be made fruitful both for the students themselves and for the broader academic community that they are part of during their stay in the Netherlands.
Research at the Centre will be performed in the setting of a research group, headed by the two chairs that constitute the core of the Centre’s research team. The team, which will consist of a considerable “volume” of researchers, will develop a strategy to acquire external funding, both by participating in the various funding instruments of NWO (and similar bodies) and by an active approach to fundraising amongst societal partners.
The Centre will continue to publish the Intercultural Biblical Hermeneutics Series, in which its own publications will also appear. It will also continue to organize the biannual Dom Hélder Câmara – lecture, by a speaker of international renown. The Centre will continue to take a leading and coordinating role in the work of the “Intercultural Bible Collective” as it came into existence under the leadership of the Dom Hélder Câmara chair. Important partners in this network are: the Ujamaa Centre in South Africa, CEBI in Brasil, and the Dalit Centre in New Delhi.
Given the Centre’s focus, societal partners are of essential importance. Currently, important partners are Kerk in Actie and the Dutch Bible Society.