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An Intimate Revelation

Intercultural Bible Reading with Adolescents

Taggert E. Wolverton

An Intimate Revelation chronicles an unprecedented multi-year research project that investigated what happens when adolescents from around the world read and discuss Jesus’ Parable of the Prodigal Son together. The study gathered together adolescent participants, pastoral leaders, and theologians from several countries to read in conversational communities, and these groups then exchanged their interpretations with each other across cultural and religious distinctions. The result is a helpful step forward in understanding how adolescents make meaning when they read the Bible and how the intercultural reading process can spur participants toward spiritual growth.

The book begins by presenting thorough explanations of the foundational concepts of the project before then focusing on each of the groups’ specific experiences through a close examination of their transcripts and written materials. With that foundation laid, a critical analysis of the material investigates signs of spiritual growth as well as the adolescent participants’ ability to function in the process of intercultural communication. The participants’ hermeneutical interpretive grids are presented along with evidence of their ability to create theological applications, and finally the process of intercultural Bible reading is itself compared to the characteristics of effective youth ministry as a hopeful ally in the development of the next generation’s spirituality.

As a report on the only study of its kind to empirically observe adolescent Bible readers participating in an intercultural reading process, these pages offer insight and motivation to pastoral leaders, theologians, and anyone else questioning how to connect this globally aware generation to a vibrant faith.

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Appendix B Codes


Appendix B


While there is some discussion on whether or not a pre-existing coding paradigm has legitimacy in a grounded theory approach,1 in the case of this research beginning codes were adapted from the framework of the research project “Determining Relative Adequacy in Biblical Interpretation” under the leadership of Louis Jonker (University of Stellenbosch) and Ernst Conradie (University of the Western Cape):

Did the group give any indication that they took notice of the textual features (e.g., genre, narrative or poetic structure, wider literary context, intratextual parallels or references, rhetorical structure, etc.)? [ATTENTION TO TEXT ISELF] 2. Did the group give any indication that they took notice of the possible history or origin of the text, its possible compositeness, or the circumstances (political, historical, cultic, cultural, economic, social, etc.) from which it originated? [ATTENTION TO THE WORLD BEHIND THE TEXT] 3. Did the group pay attention to the different ways the text has already been interpreted by other individuals/traditions/theologies? [ATTENTION TO THE TRADITION OF INTERPRETATION] 4. How did the group link the text to contemporary life/experience/worldview? What status does the text have for them? Do they regard the text as having an influence on their lives, behavior, etc. or is the Bible an ‘object of study’? Did they associate with the characters in the narratives (where applicable), and did they allow the plot of the narrative to change them? Which interpretive strategies did they use to bridge the gap ←213 | 214→between...

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