FREE ELECTRONIC LIBRARY - Dissertations, online materials

Pages:   || 2 | 3 |

« ...»

-- [ Page 1 ] --

Understanding Sacred Texts

Activities and questions

This document provides a number of thought provoking ideas that can be used in the

classroom to guide students through the interactive Undertanding Sacred Texts. For

each of the interactive’s five themes we provide observations on particular interviews,

as well as activities and questions that will help students to evaluate the ideas that have

been presented and to challenge their own views.

The questions and activities are pitched at various levels, ranging from Key Stage 3 – 5.

It is important to be aware of this when selecting material for your classes.

Some of the tasks focus on a particular answer given by one of the interviewees. The others require students to draw on answers to more than one question. These activities should ideally be used in conjunction with the video interviews. However, if you are unable to access the Flash videos, excerpts from the interviews are provided.

Theme 1: Then and now

1. How can a text written many years ago help people to deal with their lives today?

2. In what ways do the texts influence lives today?

3. Would you ever use computer technology instead of a book or scroll?.....4 Theme 2: Whose text?

1. What if your conscience disagrees with a ‘rule’ from scripture?.................5

2. Are there parts of the text that are particularly special for you?.................6

3. Imagine that you have been asked for a cut-down version of this text. What would it contain?

Theme 3: Authority and Belief

1. Do believers need help to understand the text?

2. What is sacred?

3. Many religious people refer to scripture as the 'Word of God'. What does this mean?

Does it matter?

Theme 4: Meaning and Interpretation

1. What are the advantages or disadvantages of translating scripture?......... 12

2. Is there truth in the text?

3. Are there any contradictions in the text?

Theme 5: Connections

1. Could a religion exist without scripture?

2. The word 'religion' originates from a word that means 'to bind'. To what does religion bind people?

3. How does your text relate to the other Abrahamic texts?

–  –  –


1. Watch a selection of answers within this theme and consider how and why the people interviewed engage with sacred texts in their lives? Is it different for different people or does there seem to be an agreement on this?

2. Conduct a debate in which the class divides either into pairs or into two groups. One side should argue that sacred texts help people to conduct their lives with morality and goodness. The other side will argue that people should work out for themselves what it means to be good, rather than relying on a text. Is it possible for the two groups to reach an agreement? Refer to the interviewees’ answers to Question 1 and 2, to help you with this task.

3. Investigate a selection of websites (and other computer based materials) dedicated to religious texts? What advantages or disadvantages are there in using these sites? Does the author/host of the site make an influence the material? Is that going to be the case with any written material?

1. How can a text written many years ago help people to deal with their lives today?

Observations on the interviews Everybody agrees that sacred texts do not need to be updated. A view that quite a few people expressed was that it is the interpretation, rather than the text, that needs to be updated with time.

Ed Kessler (Jewish academic) says, “…each generation has the responsibility to interpret their texts for that generation. And the texts may mean slightly different things for each generation… we reinterpret the text and make sense of it for each particular period of time…” As the above quote suggests, the interpretation of sacred texts is a great responsibility.

How do you think a person decides what a passage from a religious text means? What would they need to consider? What questions would they need to ask and who would they ask?

Morna Hooker (Christian academic) says “The more specific the Commandments … that we find in the Bible, the less relevant they seem to be to the modern world.” Do you think religious people should ignore passages that do not seem relevant for the modern world? How can they decide what is relevant for the modern world?

Thinking deeper:

• If a passage can be interpreted in a variety of ways, does this mean that sacred texts have less authority?

–  –  –

• Are all possible interpretations of sacred texts equally valid, or are some ‘better’ than others?

• “The idea that passages in scripture can be interpreted to have different meanings could lead to chaos within religions.” Do you agree? Give reasons for your answer, showing that you have considered more than one point of view.

• Does the idea that a single text can be interpreted in a variety of ways weaken or strengthen its claims to relevance? Give reasons for your answer and show an understanding of two points of view.

2. In what ways do the texts influence lives today?

Observations on the interviews Ed Kessler (Jewish academic) said, “…at the end of the Psalm we have ‘Blessed be he who smashes the children’s heads against the rocks’ You know, we tend to omit that Psalm, pretend it’s not there, but we have to deal with those Psalms, those difficult texts. Otherwise those who want to use the texts for evil will succeed.” Lucy Winkett (Christian Faith leader) also talks about difficult passages (in her answer to question 4), “ St Paul wrote in one of his letters, “Slaves obey your masters”. Now for me as a Christian living in the 21st century, I think that's not acceptable... but I don't have any difficulty disagreeing with scripture in that way.” Why do you think that people tend to ignore difficult passages in sacred texts? How do you think they should be dealt with? Is it acceptable for a believer to disagree with scripture in this way? Do you think the other experts would agree with Lucy Winkett?

As seen in the interviews, many religious people decide how they want to live their lives based upon what they read in their sacred text. How do you make decisions about how you want to live your life? Are there particular people or things that you look to?

Thinking deeper:

• Many different factors influence our lives today, such as law, the media, politics and school. Are there any other contemporary writings that can be said to influence people's lives to the extent that religious texts have done?

• Do you think religious texts are important in the lives of non-religious people?

How do religious texts influence the secular world today?

–  –  –

Observations on the interviews Muhammad Yusuf (Muslim faith leader) said, “If a Qur’an is written up on the internet on a computer … there needs to be thought given to the kind of material that might be on the same machine.” Why would it matter what else is on the machine?

A few of the interviewees mentioned the importance of touching and feeling the text, at the same time as reading it.

Hamza (young Muslim) said, “…when you're holding something close to you it holds a deeper meaning... When you touch and feel something and it's messing with your senses, it plays on your emotions, I guess, and it has that effect of sacredness.” Why might things have a greater effect on us when we experience them with more than one of our senses?

Muhammad Yusuf (Muslim faith leader) explains how over time, the Qur’an has appeared

in many forms:

“The very first expression of the Qur'an was verbally in the mouth of the Prophet, peace be upon him, himself. It was later written down by the scribes of the Prophet on ostraka, on bits of pottery, on the shoulder blades of animals and later on, on parchment and on papyrus, and through the present day, in books and in bound folios. Through to the present day, we see not only paper bound copies of the Qur'an, but also online versions, computerised versions.” Many people talk about the way different versions of the sacred texts are used for different purposes.

Gila Sacks (Jewish educator) says, “…in Judaism, you can use whatever version works for you…But the exception to that is where reading the text is the act in and of itself, reading the text is the act you’re commanded to do. And that happens when we read the Torah during a prayer service…we’re commanded to read off specially written scrolls, manuscripts that were written with the intention that they would be used for holy reading.”

Thinking deeper:

• Is reading scripture from a computer less of a religious act, than reading it from a book or a scroll? Does it change a person's connection with the words?

• “It does not matter how you read scripture, what is important is why you read it.” Do you agree? Give reasons for your answer, showing that you have considered more than one point of view.

–  –  –

1. What if your conscience disagrees with a ‘rule’ from scripture?

Observations on the interviews Julian Baggini (atheist philosopher), “as a non-believer I have no problem if my conscience disagrees with a religious text, because I think I can learn from religious texts, but I don’t take them to be final authorities…” What does Julian think non-believers can learn from religious texts? What does he mean by final authority? Can a text have authority over people? How do these religious texts influence secular society?

Gila Sacks (Jewish educator) said, “I’ve got the right to argue with the text and that’s ok, that’s allowed.” What do you think they meant by ‘arguing with the text’? Do you agree that religious people have this right? Do you think that the other interviewees would agree with her?

Muhammad Yazdani (Muslim educator) says that if a person doesn’t agree with the scripture, it’s because he or she does not fully understand the words.

“If a passage from scripture does not seem to make sense, this is because the reader does not understand rather than because the passage cannot be understood.” Do you agree? How does this compare to Morna Hooker’s (academic) Christian view. In

talking about the influence of texts on people’s lives (Then and now, qu 2), she says:

“We can use the Bible as a guide to how we live, provided we don't expect it to answer everyday problems that confront us.” Do you think Muslims or Jews would expect their texts to answer everyday problems?

Julian Baggini points out that many people disagree with elements of scripture, and therefore re-interpret the words to fit their own arguments. He says that ultimately, “you can’t escape your own responsibility to look at what’s in the text and respond according to your own conscience. The minute you just say well it’s in the text, I must do it, in a way you’re abdicating your own responsibility to try and interpret what’s going on there and take responsibility for how you read it.”

Thinking deeper:

• There are different attitudes towards texts among religious people. What are these different attitudes? Can you think of any reasons for the differences? Is it ok that there are differences, and if so, how does this impact on the idea of the scripture as the word of God?

–  –  –

Ed Kessler says, “Another favourite saying of mine is... “you’re not free to complete the task but neither are you free to desist from it’. In other words, you have to make an effort, you have to contribute to this world but don’t think you’re going to do it all, but just make your own contribution.” What does it mean to ‘contribute to the world’? In what ways can we contribute to the world? Are there any particular ways in which you contribute to the world? How do you feel this contribution relates to religion, if at all?

Why do you think that some people have linked their sacred text to an important life event, such as the birth of a child or a wedding (see John Williams, Christian educator)?

What does this tell you about their relationship to the text? Does it tell you anything about their relationship to God?

Both Harry (young Jew) and Hamza (young Muslim) talked about passages they had

learned when they were young:

Harry - “I personally believe that the shema, the prayer for the morning and the evening, is very important... it makes me feel part of the greater Jewish community saying it at a service because everyone, every Jew, is taught it when they are very young.” Hamza - “... there's one certain aspect of the text that's really special to me...and this was the Surat Alaq, in which... [the Prophet Muhammad] said the first few words of the Qur'an.... This is the first, story that I learned when I was younger, so I guess this is something that will always stick in my mind.”

Thinking deeper:

• In what ways can sacred texts lead to positive attitudes towards people with different beliefs? Refer to the interviews in your answer, for example, you may want to refer to Hamza’s (young Muslim) answer to Question 11 or Amineh Hoti’s (Muslim academic) answer to Question 5.

• How about you? Is there a text, or part of a text, that is particularly special for you? If so, can you explain what it is and why it is special? If not, do you think there is anything or anything else in your life that performs the role that a text might play for others?

3. Imagine that you have been asked for a cut-down version of this text. What would it contain?

Many of the interviewees found this question very difficult to answer and were uncomfortable with the idea of suggesting that some parts were less important than

–  –  –

Pages:   || 2 | 3 |

Similar works:

«CREATIVE RAY BO NAME Des Moines Y Camp SPECIAL EDITION 1192166th Drive, Boone, IA 50036 January 2013 Special Edition http://www.y-camp.org/ SPECIAL EDITION TO THE YEA BO NEWSLETTER IN HONOR OF DR. RAYMOND HILL PUGH IT’S ALL ABOUT THE KIDS! Ray PughOne of a Kind Ray Pugh first came down the hill to Y Camp in 1946, when he was 17 years old, to be a Y Camp leader for Leon Smith. He came back for six more summers, working in many departments, leading songs and stage shows and coordinating many...»

«The Auditor-General Audit Report No.6 2005–06 Performance Audit Implementation of Job Network Employment Services Contract 3 Department of Employment and Workplace Relations Centrelink Australian National Audit Office © Commonwealth of Australia 2005 ISSN 1036–7632 ISBN 0 642 80863 5 COPYRIGHT INFORMATION This work is copyright. Apart from any use as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part may be reproduced by any process without prior written permission from the Commonwealth....»

«COMISIÓN DE DESARROLLO METROPOLITANO DE LA COMISIÓN DE DESARROLLO METROPOLITANO, RELATIVA A LA REUNIÓN DE TRABAJO QUE SOSTUVO CON JEFES DELEGACIONALES Y PRESIDENTES MUNICIPALES DE LA ZONA ORIENTE DEL VALLE DE MÉXICO EL MIÉRCOLES 6 DE DICIEMBRE DE 2006 En la Ciudad de México, Distrito Federal, siendo las 16 horas de 6 de diciembre de 2006, se reúnen en el salón C del edificio G del Palacio Legislativo de San Lázaro, sito avenida Congreso de la Unión 66, colonia El Parque, delegación...»

«Internet y la Sociedad Red Manuel Castells Internet es el tejido de nuestras vidas en este momento. No es futuro. Es presente. Internet es un medio para todo, que interactúa con el conjunto de la sociedad y, de hecho, a pesar de ser tan reciente, en su forma societal (aunque como sabemos, Internet se construye, más o menos, en los últimos treinta y un años, a partir de 1969; aunque realmente, tal y como la gente lo entiende ahora, se constituye en 1994, a partir de la existencia de un...»

«I. Pangkalahatang Impormasyon sa Lahat ng mga Humihiling A. Ano ang Ipagpaliban ang Pagkilos sa Mga Musmos o Bata Nang Dumating sa Bansa (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals)? Sa loob ng nakaraang mga taon, ang Administrasyon na ito ay sumailalim sa isang hindi pa nagagawang pagsisikap para baguhin ang sistema ng pagpapatupad ng imigrasyon upang maging isang nagtutuon ng pansin sa seguridad ng bansa, kaligtasan ng publiko, seguridad sa border at integridad ng sistema ng imigrasyon. Habang...»


«The Alberta Gazette Part I Vol. 112 Edmonton, Saturday, July 30, 2016 No. 14 APPOINTMENTS Appointment of Non-Presiding Justice of the Peace (Justice of the Peace Act) May 12, 2016 Smith, Ian Quinn of Calgary June 23, 2016 Daley, Abbie Maria of Calgary Fode, Shelly Ann of Edmonton Lobban, Caroline Georgena of Red Deer Mehmeti, Vjollca of Edmonton Appointment of Part-time Provincial Court Judge (Provincial Court Act) July 4, 2016 Honourable Judge Frederick Alexander Day For a term to expire on...»

«HULU AND THE FUTURE OF TELEVISION: A CASE STUDY An Honors Thesis (HONRS 499) by Matthew Rodgers Thesis Advisor Michael Hanley Associate Professor of Journalism Ball State University Muncie, Indiana May 2011 Expected Date of Graduation May 2011 Abstract Understanding current media trends and adapting to ever-changing consumer desires is essential to success in advertising. Hulu is one of several new Internet-based services that deliver television content to consumers without using the...»

«JANICE MUELLER STATE AUDITOR 22 E. MIFFLIN ST., STE. 500 MADISON, WISCONSIN 53703 (608) 266-2818 FAX (608) 267-0410 May 6, 2004 Leg.Audit.Info@legis.state.wi.us Senate Majority Leader Mary Panzer and Assembly Speaker John Gard State Capitol Madison, Wisconsin 53702 Dear Senator Panzer and Representative Gard: At your request, we have completed a limited-scope review of the finances of the Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club from 1994 through 2003. Our review was initiated following reports that the...»

«UNIVERSIDADE FEDERAL DO AMAZONAS INSTITUTO DE CIÊNCIAS EXATAS PROGRAMA DE PÓS-GRADUAÇÃO EM GEOCIÊNCIAS Miquéas Barroso da Silva ANÁLISE GRAVIMÉTRICA DE UMA ANOMALIA MORFOESTRUTURAL NA CIDADE MANAUS-AM. Dissertação apresentada junto ao Programa de Pós-Graduação em Geociências, da Universidade Federal do Amazonas, como requisito para obtenção do título de Mestre em Geociências, área de concentração Geologia Regional. Orientador: Prof. Dr. Clauzionor Lima da Silva...»

«Copyright by Petert Bishop Caster 2004 The Dissertation Committee for Peter Bishop Caster Certifies that this is the approved version of the following dissertation: THE LANGUAGE OF THE PRISON HOUSE: INCARCERATION, RACE, AND MASCULINITY IN TWENTIETH CENTURY U.S. LITERATURE Committee: Evan Carton, Supervisor Phil Barrish Barbara Harlow Martin Kevorkian David Oshinsky THE LANGUAGE OF THE PRISON HOUSE: INCARCERATION, RACE, AND MASCULINITY IN TWENTIETH CENTURY U.S. LITERATURE by Peter Bishop Caster,...»

«Political Thought from Gerson to Grotius: 1414–1625: Seven Studies John Neville Figgis Batoche Books Kitchener 1999 This text was prepared by Batoche Books Limited, 52 Eby StreetSouth, Kitchener, Ontario, N2G 3L1, Canada. Printed copies are available for $20.00 canadian.(rodhay@golden.net) Contents Preface Lecture I: Introductory Lecture II: The Conciliar Movement and the Papalist Reaction Lecture III: Luther and Machiavelli Lecture IV: The Politiques and Religious Toleration 73 Lecture V:...»

<<  HOME   |    CONTACTS
2016 www.dissertation.xlibx.info - Dissertations, online materials

Materials of this site are available for review, all rights belong to their respective owners.
If you do not agree with the fact that your material is placed on this site, please, email us, we will within 1-2 business days delete him.