Critical Public Theology: How to Use and Not to Use the Bible in Contemporary Public Issues

March 07, 2019 / 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
820 Barrows Hall, UC Berkeley, CA

Konrad Schmid, Professor of Old Testament Science and Early Jewish Religious History, University of Zürich

The Bible sometimes plays a major role in current, political discourses, especially in the United States. As a project, public theology supports efforts to let the Bible speak to contemporary, public concerns. But using the Bible in this way involves many potential traps. How can a 2000 year old book provide guidance for social and political challenges? Should it do so at all? This lecture argues that to use the Bible in social and political discourses without attending to its historical framework, and without dealing rationally and critically with its texts, will neither do a favor to theology nor to the public.

Konrad Schmid is Professor of Professor of Hebrew Bible and Ancient Judaism at the University of Zürich.

The Berkeley Public Theology Program invites innovative thinkers and public figures to Berkeley to reflect on the past, present, and future of theological inquiry. Such lectures spark scholarly conversations on campus and place Berkeley at the center of global conversations on religion and public life.