Instructions for Discussion Section Preparation and Papers
Sex in the Bible
Section 1, Feb 4-5: Write a short literary interpretation (1 page single spaced) of the
encounter between (1) Ham and Noah (Gen 9:18–29) or (2) Lot and his daughters (Gen
19:30–38). We will discuss “literary interpretation” in more detail in this section, but for
the purpose of this assignment, discuss how the story works. Look for features that
jump out at you—what questions do you have about it? Are there contradictions or
problems in the story? Does it deviate from your expectations in any way?
Section 2, Feb 11-12: Write a short historical critical interpretation (1 page single
spaced) of (1) 1 Corinthians 5:1–5 or (2) 1 Corinthians 14:33b–36. We will discuss
“historical critical interpretation” in more detail in this section, but for the purpose of this
assignment, think about what types of historical information (the real world context that
is “behind the text”) would help you understand this passage better? The purpose of this
assignment is not for you to do extra research to answer these questions, just to think
about and describe what you would like to know about the historical setting.
Section 3, Feb 18-19: First short paper opportunity (6 pages): purity and impurity.
Discuss what makes animals permitted or prohibited in Lev 17. Does this help you make
any sense of prohibited actions or people in Lev 18–19? How useful are the categories
of “purity” and “impurity” for speaking about these animals, actions, or people? If they
are useful, what do they mean and how are they used? For example, would you say
pure and impure refer to “clean” and “unclean”? And if they do, what are the implications
of those labels? Do the categories have more than one meaning?
Section 4, Feb 25-26: Second short paper opportunity (6 pages): Discuss portrayals of
women in Proverbs. Which traits are valued, and which traits are not? How—by what
criteria and in...