“Cultural Hermeneutics” aims to expand and hone students’ self-awareness and capabilities as interpreters and creative agents promoting truth, goodness and beauty in the world, standing within the purview of Christ and his kingdom. A general analysis of reality and the human world in relation to it will be augmented by the introduction of social-scientific concepts of “culture” and “society” to clarify the processes by which individuals and communities are formed, sustained, and transformed, both for good and for ill.
Particular attention will be given to understanding of the significance of culture(s) vis-à-vis God’s intentions for the world. Hence, major biblical themes and instructive insights from various theological traditions will both enrich our grasp of the latter and serve as criteria for exercising discernment about creative endeavors, consumption of cultural products, and engagement in social and cultural criticism. In turn, students will grow as exegetes and theological interpreters of culture, especially in relation to their own contexts. To this end, a framework and method of analysis will be introduced which assist one in comprehending—and evaluating from the standpoint of biblical Christianity—any and every artifact encountered. Students will demonstrate their understanding and aptitude in working with and from these acquired sensibilities and skills in the culminating course assignment: rendering a sociocultural analysis and a theological account of a cultural artifact of their own choosing.