THE2179 - 'Deviant Bodies': Disability Studies and the New Testament

2018/9 Module description

StaffProfessor Louise Lawrence - Convenor
Credit Value30
ECTS Value15
NQF Level5
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module description

This module will introduce you to the themes and methodologies of disability studies through close readings of specific New Testament texts. You will consider the contribution of these readings to the historical understanding of those perceived as ‘disabled’ to incorporate sensory, physical and mental impairments. This will further inform your thinking in relation to the potential for freeing disabled communities from current attitudes to disability. The module has no formal pre-requisites or co-requisites and is open to all students. 

Module aims

This module will:

  • Introduce and employ Disability Studies perspectives in close readings of specific New Testament texts
  • Critically assess the contribution of such readings to both historical understanding of those perceived as ‘disabled’ within biblical literature and the potential liberation offered by such perspectives for those perceived as ‘disabled’ communities today

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. Present an informed and critical discussion of a selected New Testament text in light of Disability Studies literature
  • 2. Present an informed and critical discussion of the treatment of the ill and disabled in contemporary biblical scholarship
  • 3. Present an informed and critical discussion of how contemporary 'disabled' communities engage with the Bible

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 4. Demonstrate knowledge of, and critical reflection on, contrasting scholarly, ideological and historical perspectives
  • 5. Show the ability to make careful use of core methods of Disability Studies in biblical interpretation

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 6. Communicate clearly and imaginatively in both written and oral form
  • 7. Construct logical and lucid arguments using appropriate methods
  • 8. Participate appropriately within group work
  • 9. Generously engage with methods and people who represent opinions and viewpoints different from your own

Syllabus plan

Whilst the content may vary from year to year, it is envisioned that it will cover some or all of the following topics:

  • Introducing Disability
  • Portraying the Disabled in Literature
  • Sense and Stigma: Sensory Impairment in New Testament Worlds
  • Broken Bodies: Physical Impairment in New Testament Worlds
  • Moonstruck and Demon-Possessed: mental impairment in New Testament Worlds
  • The Bible and ‘the Disabled’ Today and The Future(s) of Disability Studies and the New Testament

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching22Lectures: 12 weekly sessions lasting 2 hours each which will have the format of an informal lecture, aimed at the imparting of knowledge and a basic understanding of the topic
Scheduled learning and teaching11Seminars: Seminar-format. You will be expected to lead one seminar during the semester
Guided independent study267Private study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Draft of one 3000 word essay1 x 3000 word essay1-9Individual tutorial
Draft of one 2000 word book review1 x 2000 words1-9Individual tutorial

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay503000 words1-9Marked script
Book review402000 words1-9Marked script
Individual presentation1010 minutes1-9Mark sheet

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay1-9Referral/Deferral period
Book reviewBook review 1-9Referral/Deferral period
Individual presentationPresentation1-9Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • H. Avalos, S. Melcher and J. Schipper (eds), This Abled Body: Rethinking Disabilities in Biblical Studies (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2007)
  • Bishop, M. E. (ed.), Religion and Disability: Essays in Scripture, Theology and Ethics (Kansas: Sheed and Ward, 1995)
  • Eisland, N. L., The Disabled God: Towards a Liberatory Theology of Disability (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1994)
  • Hitching, P., The Church and Deaf People (Milton Keynes: Paternoster Press, 2003)
  • Hull, J., In the Beginning There Was Darkness: A Blind Person’s Conversations with the Bible (London: SCM Press, 2001)
  • Lewis, H., Deaf Liberation Theology (Ashgate Publishing, 2007)
  • Reynolds, T.E., Vulnerable Communion: A Theology of Disability and Hospitality (Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2008)

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