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School of Religion offers new Critical Comparative Scriptures MA and PhD programs. Accepting for Fall 2010

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Critical Comparative Scriptures (CCS) program advances the School of Religion’s aspirations and commitment to modeling a comparative religions program for the 21st century. It aims to be unique among graduate programs in religion (even among the established comparative religions programs throughout the major universities of North America), as it represents a different orientation to the study of scriptures, traditionally understood and practiced as textual study. 

While other programs may offer some sort of comparison of scripture traditions, they generally privilege textual study. CCS is a departure from this business-as-usual approach to scripture. Instead of confining scripture to a material object handed down from generation to generation, the program foregrounds the political, social-psychological, and cultural dynamics involved in meaning-making and identity formation as they occur over time and space. In these situations, the text itself is not the focus; rather, the focus is on the interpretive matrix that enables group construction around a shared meaning. Scripture, therefore, is treated as both subject and verb, something not only created, but also an activity in which people engage.

"The focus of this new program is placed ultimately not on historical criticism, but critical histories--the histories and phenomenology of religions and cultures, in complex relationships to texts, but also in relationships to other media understood as sacred," said Vincent L. Wimbush, Professor of Religion at CGU and Director of the Institute for Signifying Scriptures, whose mission and research initiatives inspired and will complement this new program.

The program invites students to explore the many creative ways human beings invent, engage, and represent 'scriptures.' It embodies CGU’s dedication to a truly ‘transdisciplinary’ model and encourages students to incorporate the methods and approaches of a variety of disciplines.

The program is flexible and more inclusive: students will be able to engage in critical and comparative research on a wide range of cultural practices and expressions, certainly of the major “world” traditions, but now within the framework of this new program, including also those practices and expressions of formations that have historically been rendered analytically invisible.

Students are encouaged to apply or find out more information here.




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