“Exegetical Education": Overcoming Obstacles in a Collaborative Journey Toward Meaning

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Vol: 4, Issue: 1

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Holton, Michael
Dublin Institute of Technology
Exegesis; Discussions; Network Analysis; Independent Learning; Meaning; Peer Learning
article description
A practical problem often arises in gospel doctrine classes since the scriptural text is often bypassed in favour of thematic discussions. The use of exegesis might overcome this problem by reinstating the text as a genuine source of meaning. Indeed, exegetical education (EE) could aid in understanding and using the text. Practical action research was employed in a small-scale study to explore these claims. Interviews held with three teachers explored their practice of exegetical forms of instruction. EE was formalised during a pilot stage. A reflective journal was kept during a further implementation of EE in specific gospel doctrine classes. Finally, a focus group interview was held with students to explore their experience of EE as implemented. The data obtained was analysed using network analysis. The findings support the claim that EE contributes to the relevance of the text in classroom discussions. These findings paint a metaphorical picture of EE as involving a journey that has various obstacles that must be overcome: a journey akin to an obstacle course. Ideally, the journey starts with a ‘living’ text and ends with ‘living’ truth. Further research could explore whether the consistent use of exegetical homework assignments encourage independent learning and improve class discussions.