Student Groups: University of Virginia

Composed of UVA graduate students, the Scriptural Reasoning Group meets monthly for sessions of interfaith reading and study of scripture. These sessions are organized around shared scripture stories or important religious themes. Each session focuses on a particular text from one of the Abrahamic traditions, each reading building on previous readings. Current group organizers are Pete Kang and Keith Starkenburg.

Former group coordinator Jacob Goodson describes their work in this way:

The Scriptural Reasoning graduate student group at the University of Virginia is a small group that fosters different methods and perspectives for reading Scripture. It is comprised of graduate students in the areas of Scriptural Interpretation and Practice, Historical and Philosophical Theology, Religion and Literature, Religious Ethics, and Christianity and Judaism in Antiquity. The method we most often use in our SR sessions is to read the text in as many different translations as possible and then have someone offer a plain-sense reading of that text. Our group work usually begins with the plain-sense reading and goes different directions from there. In my experience, agreement dominates the first half of our sessions while disagreements begin arising and articulated in the second half sometimes in irresolvable ways. Depending on the time, we often try to reflect on how the session went at the end of the same session before everyone departs from the group. And friendships are always strengthened.

The group is currently coordinated by Daniel Weiss and Emily Filler. Their topic for Fall 2008 is "Women in the Abrahamic Scriptures."

In past semesters, the group has focused on the following themes and texts:

Summer 2007:

Scripture on Scripture

  • Psalm 119
  • Ezekiel 3
  • Revelation 10
  • 2 Corinthians 3:1-18
  • Jeremiah 31:31-34

Spring 2007:

The Critique of Religion

  • Mark 7:1-15
  • Isaiah 29:13-21
  • Quran Sura 2:170-177

Fall 2006:

The Hardening of Pharaoh's Heart

  • Exodus 4
  • Romans 9
  • Quran Sura 7, Sura 10

Conversion and Repentance

  • Acts 8:26-40
  • Jonah 2, 4
  • Quran Sura 26:44-51