Digital Bible Literacy

My Religion 216 "Digital Bible" students are currently taking their final exam, and rather than grade papers while I wait, I decided to post their exam to see how well you all would do.

The class used the Accordance system (which they could purchase at a 50% discount; I assigned them the "Bible Study" collection), though a couple of students chose to use online free tools instead. We spent the first half of the term talking about the process of exegesis, using Michael Gorman's excellent primer on the subject, and the second half was devoted to particular topics, most of which are represented in the final exam.

The class is designed to teach students how to interpret the Bible using digital tools, and a big part of that is leveraging the digital search interface to find important and interesting texts. Once you have your texts in view, then you can use the various parts of the exegetical method, drawing upon textual and commentary resources within Accordance and elsewhere. They each wrote a 12-page exegetical research paper, for which they had to use several academic commentaries and peer-reviewed articles discovered through ATLA or JSTOR.

The final exam isn't very difficult, in my opinion. I decided to ask fairly broad questions rather than have them do a treasure hunt for specific things. Even so, I think it shows how powerful an electronic system like Accordance can be. Someone with a strong biblical literacy could probably answer most or all of these questions without searching, but that group of readers is small and shrinking. With the right tools, anyone can find out what is in the Bible, which is a prerequisite for understanding what it says.

Let me know how you did! You can find me in the comments, on Twitter, or on Facebook.