Interpreting the Text (Lewis, Spring 2016)
Note: This guide emphasizes the scholarly resources available in the Tarver Library to assist you with preparing a précis on an Old Testament passage for your CHR 101 Interpreting the Text Workshop. If you are in the WRT section, your guide is here.
Your one-page outline requires you to use translations, the annotations in your text or the Jewish Study Bible, one commentary, and one dictionary. This assignment is to assist you with interpreting biblical texts responsibly. You will be digging the meaning out of the text rather than reading into the text what you want or expect to find.
After you have read your text several times and have become comfortable with it, it is time to read the text in several translations to get a "feel" for the passage and to look for any striking differences. Remember, you want to use a translation (works from the original Hebrew and Greek and converts it into another language) rather than a paraphrase (which takes a translation and renders it into more modern English). You must read the text in the JSB, NRSV, and GNB/TEV.
Note: just because you find them in one of these sources doesn't mean you should use it; be sure to use only the required translations.
Print versions available in the Tarver Library include:
REF BS 895 J4 2004
Electronic access to Bible translations available includes:
- Parallel Bible
- Unbound Bible
- Bible Gateway (Also includes audio options--remember to be selective--check your syllabus.)
Scholarly commentaries focus on the biblical text and include the scripture for your passage. Your précis must include at least one potentially important idea that you have taken from one of the following commentaries
REF BS 491.2 .M47 1995
REF BS 1151.2 .M47 2003
REF BS 491.2 .N484 1994
- Old Testament Library (OTL)
Volumes pulled and placed on Reserve, ask at the Circulation Desk on the main floor (you will need to know your biblical passage and course number)
REF BS 440 .A54 1992
REF BS 440 .I63
- Mercer Dictionary of the Bible (MDB)
REF BS 440.M429 1990 (two more copies on Reserve, check at the Circulation Desk)
REF BS 440 .N445 2006
- Use the right sources, in the right amount.
- In order to complete this assignment, you must use the following sources: three translations in addition to that found in The Jewish Study Bible, annotations in the JSB or from your text, one commentary, and one dictionary.
- Remember to document your sources, including volume numbers for the Anchor Bible Dictionary, New Interpreters Bible, Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, and New Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible.
- include the title, page number, and volume of the source with your notes
- consider taking a picture of the front of the source along with your notes to make sure you get the right source for your documentation
- if you make copies of any sources, remember to include the title of the source along with page number and volume
- This work is "cyclical" which means that one thing often leads to another. For example,
- differences in translations may lead you to ideas or terms to look up in a dictionary or a commentary for insight
- reading the commentary leads you back to the translation to see if the same phrase is used in more than one translation
- reading the commentary may take you back to the dictionary and vice versa
- Commentaries and dictionaries may not always agree on some issues. Consider how you should negotiate these differences. At the very least, you should note the differences and state that scholars disagree. An even better approach is to take a side and explain your reasoning.
- This is going to take time, so don't put it off until the last minute.
- Read the text, read the text, read the text ... familiarity can bring understanding.
- The Bible Gateway site allows you to listen to the passage; sometimes you hear something you might miss when reading.
- Please don't re-shelve (or hide!) the sources. Theresa will monitor the area and try to keep the items in order on the reference shelves.