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Summer Institute 2018
1883 University St.
Eugene, OR 97403
Summer Institute 2018: Are We All Reading the Same Bible?
The old saying is unfortunately true: you can use the Bible to prove anything. People have always disagreed strongly about what the Bible means. Those disagreements arise because people have different ways of reading the Bible.
We each bring our preconceived ideas to the Bible.
We each have our own way of deciding what the words of a text mean.
We each come from traditions that have explained the Bible to us in various ways.
Sometimes it feels as if we are each reading different Bibles. In such circumstances, can the Bible communicate to us? Summer Institute 2018 intends to explore this important issue:
with such a diversity of perspectives,
can the Bible really speak,
and if so, how?
We do not intend to give a systematic, comprehensive set of lectures on this topic. Summer Institute is always an exploration; we seek to provide an experience with some of the flavor of a Gutenberg College education. To explore this question of whether and how the Bible can communicate, we will read and discuss significant texts from Western history. We will read and discuss passages from the Bible. And speakers will present their own reflections on some of the issues raised by those readings. We hope to provide varied and stimulating sessions relevant to the topic of how we read the Bible.
Thursday, August 2, 5:30 to 9:00 p.m.
Friday, August 3, 5:00 to 8:30 p.m.
Saturday, August 4, 8:30 a.m to 3:30 p.m.
1883 University St.
Eugene, OR 97403
Go here to register. Or call the Gutenberg College office: 541-683-5141.
Childcare: If you are interested in childcare, please email for more information.
Cost*: (includes dinner on Friday night; continental breakfast on Saturday morning; and lunch on Saturday)
Early Registration, Before July 1:
Individual - $85
Family - $110
Student - $35
General Registration, Begins July 1:
Individual - $100
Family - $125
Student - $40
Stream the lectures live: $15**
Register here for streaming.
* Financial aid: There are available limited financial aid packages for those who wish to attend. If you wish to apply, please contact the office.
Volunteer opportunities: We can also offer reduced costs for volunteers. If you would like to volunteer, please contact the office.
** Online Streaming:
- Only lectures will be streamed. Discussions will not be streamed.
- A PDF of the reading material will be provided to streamers to read.
- A recording of each of the videos will be available online for a month after the end of the conference.
- Other Details TBA
|5:30-6:15 p.m.||Check In|
|6:30-8:00 p.m.||Discussion of Reading One|
|8:15-9:00 p.m.||Lecture 1: Chris Swanson|
|6:00-7:30 p.m.||Discussion of Reading Two|
|7:45-8:30 p.m.||Lecture 2: Charley Dewberry & Chris Alderman|
|8:30-9:00 a.m.||Continental Breakfast|
|9:00-10:30 a.m.||Discussion of Reading Three|
|10:45-11:30 a.m.||Lecture 3: Eliot Grasso|
|12:30-2:00 p.m.||Discussion of Reading Four|
|2:15-3:00 p.m.||Lecture 4: Ron Julian|
|3:00-3:30 p.m.||Q and A|
Discussions & Lectures:
Gutenberg College Summer Institutes are an opportunity to explore a topic while getting some of the “Gutenberg” experience. That is, we discuss readings from important works in our culture and also listen to talks related to the topic. The presenters/discussion leaders are listed below. A reading packet (PDF) will be emailed to participants.
6:30-8:00 p.m. Discussion of Reading One: “How Have We Read the Parables?”
A collection from church history of various approaches to interpreting the parables.
8:10-9:00 p.m. Lecture 1
Chris Swanson: “It’s All Greek to Me: How Byzantium Reformed Reading”
After the fall of Rome, medieval thinkers preserved Rome’s twofold legacy, Greek philosophy and Christianity, through a synthesis of faith and reason. One of the key ways they combined the two was through allegorical interpretation of biblical passages. In the early Italian Renaissance, interest in Greek and Roman writings was revived by classical scholars, who set out to bring home and translate newly discovered ancient Greek texts. That interest was enriched by the arrival of noted Greek scholars from the East around the time of the fall of Constantinople in 1453. The combination of Greek textual tools and the Italian enthusiasm for classical origins laid the groundwork for an entirely new approach to biblical interpretation, which was later taken up by the Reformers in northern Europe. This talk will explore medieval and Reformation approaches to biblical interpretation and the fascinating story of how the East reformed reading in the West.
6:00-7:30 p.m. Discussion of Reading Two: (TBA)
A reading concerning the influence of post-modernism on how we think about interpreting texts.
7:40-8:30 p.m. Lecture 2
Charley Dewberry & Chris Alderman: “Author, Reader, Text: Postmodern Challenges for a Hermeneutic of Faith”
9:00-10:30 a.m. Discussion of Reading Three: A section from Kierkegaard’s For Self-Examination.
10:40-11:30 p.m. Lecture 3
Eliot Grasso: “The Arts: Finding Our Humanity in a Secular World”
Listening to and performing music is like pursuing Christianity in this critical way: in both cases, a reader/hearer must decide what actions to take and how to take them. To live well before God, Christians are faced with this question after reading the Bible: What should I do? The Bible offers prescriptions and descriptions. Some sections prescribe actions to pursue or to avoid, while other sections describe historical circumstances. But how do I know what I should do? This talk will investigate the parallels between understanding music (both performance and listening) and the prescriptive and descriptive ways of understanding the Bible.
12:30-2:00 p.m. Discussion of Reading Four: “How Did Jesus Read the Bible?”
Several key passages where Jesus speaks to the issue of reading the Scriptures.
2:10-3:00 p.m. Lecture 4
Ron Julian: “Are We All Reading the Same Bible?”
In this talk, Ron brings together the themes explored throughout the conference and gives his perspective on our fundamental question.
Speakers / Discussion Leaders
Chris Alderman (M.A., Language and Literature) is a tutor at Gutenberg College and the self-published author of two collections of poetry.
Charley Dewberry (M.S. Stream Ecology; Ph.D. philosophy) is the dean and a tutor at Gutenberg College. He is the author of Saving Science and Intelligent Discourse: Exposing the Fallacious Standoff Between Evolution and Intelligent Design.
Eliot Grasso (M.A., Ethnomusicology; Ph.D., Musicology) is the incoming provost and a tutor at Gutenberg College. He is also an internationally known musician.
Ron Julian (M.A., Religion) is a tutor at Gutenberg College, the author of Righteous Sinners, and a co-author of The Language of God: A Commonsense Approach to Understanding and Applying the Bible.
Chris Swanson (M.S., Physics; Ph.D., Physics) is the president and a tutor at Gutenberg College.