Roach - 2 -
Scripture and the study of scripture have shaped the identities of countless diverse
communities throughout the world.
In reference to the study of scripture in a fictitious,
yet realistic academic course, Wilfred Cantwell Smith states, “Again, most recent
Biblical study has been produced from within that movement.
The undergraduate course
that we are envisaging here would, rather, look at that movement from the outside: would
describe it, analyse it, assess it.” (Smith, 25)
The fundamental difference between the
modern Christian community and modern academia, which leads to a huge difference in
identity, is not the text at hand, but rather, the direction of the study and inquiry of the
text, specifically the New Testament.
While the Christian Church’s interest is in the
scriptural references, the miracles, the lessons inherent in each chapter or parable, the
academic community asks how the text itself, including all of the aforementioned aspects
of the text, have influenced the communities in contact with this text.
Christian Church is a group which forms its identity and its points of interest based on
what is written and revealed within their scripture, the New Testament.
On the other
hand, the modern academic community focused on the study of religion is a group which
forms its identity based on its study of the culture, context, and consequences of the New
Testament, using what is contained within the New Testament itself to reach the broader
goal of understanding the interaction between the New Testament and humanity.
In this analysis, I define the modern day Christian Church as those who value the
study of the New Testament for its spiritual, moral, and ritual purposes.
They live their
lives according to the New Testament and the teachings of Jesus Christ.
I define the
modern day academic community as those who practice and value the study religion,
specifically the New Testament, for the purpose of understanding the communities,