Buies Creek, N.C.—Wake Forest Divinity Professor and international biblical scholar Phyllis Trible discussed why the Bible is still so relevant, vital and compelling today. Trible spoke at Campbell University’s Department of Religion and Philosophy’s annual lecture on Tuesday, Feb. 8, at 7 p.m. and earlier in the day at 2:30 p.m.
Referring to Deuteronomy as an example of a “boundary book,” Trible used it as an illustration of how the Bible presents a jumping off point at which the reader must make a moral choice. These choices are remarkably like the ones people face today. In Deuteronomy, for example, Israel stands poised between the wilderness and the Promised Land and fulfillment, between exile and return.
“To those diverse boundaries Deuteronomy speaks,” Trible said. “It is a text of tension that hints at conflicting expressions. Deuteronomy takes ancient traditions of the Mosaic Age and reinterprets these for newer generations. It shows us how to appropriate the traditions and teachings of our ancestors.”
And so it is throughout the Bible. The Bible is a blending of the past, present and future for witnesses to interpret and adapt to their own lives. It is not a homogenous book with a monolithic meaning, Trible explained.
“The Bible is a dangerous and difficult book,” added Trible. “This explains its longevity. Every generation comes to it with questions not asked by others or views not adopted by others. We are forced to choose between life and death, blessings and curses. Our ethical responsibility is to choose the meaning of the text that makes for life.”
Phyllis Trible is a professor of biblical studies at Wake Forest University School of Divinity. A past president of the Society of Biblical Literature, she began her collegiate teaching career at Wake Forest in 1963. After leaving Wake Forest in 1971, Trible taught at Andover Newton Theological School in Massachusetts and went on to serve as a professor of Old Testament at Union Theological Seminary in New York in 1971. From 1981 until her appointment to the Wake Forest School of Divinity in 1999, Trible was the Baldwin Professor of Sacred Literature at Union Theological Seminary. Considered a leader in the text-based exploration of women and gender in scripture, Trible has written several books including God and the Rhetoric of Sexuality, Texts of Terror: Literary-Feminist Readings of Biblical Narrative, and, most recently Rhetorical Criticism: Context, Method and the Book of Jonah.
This is the 12th annual lecture presented by Campbell University’s Department of Religion and Philosophy. The lectures are free and open to the public.
Photo Copy: Biblical scholar Phyllis Trible speaks at Campbell University’s annual Department of Religion and Philosophy lecture.