Netherlands, Amsterdam

Contextual Biblical Interpretation

when 22 July 2017 - 5 August 2017
language English
duration 2 weeks
credits 3 ECTS
fee EUR 1150

Millions of people read the Bible every day, in hundreds of languages and versions, and every one of them interprets it in their own way. For some, every verse is to be taken literally; others draw their inspiration more selectively and figuratively. How each of us experiences the Bible may be influenced as much by who and where we are as by our own view of faith and religious observance. In this course you explore the many different ways the Bible is studied and understood, and how they come about. Theories abound as to how Scripture should be read, but what actually happens when people engage with it “for real”? What does biblical reception really entails?

Drawing upon cutting-edge research into contextual and empirical hermeneutics, topics covered include the use of the Bible in theological education, different approaches to its interpretation (contextual, canonical, historical-critical) and the “South-to-North” transfer of contextual hermeneutics.

Case studies look at how the Bible is read in such contexts as Israel/Palestine and amongst the indigenous peoples of Latin America. On our own doorstep, the multicultural, multi-ethnic, multifaith city of Amsterdam provides unrivalled opportunities to investigate how different communities and congregations, from traditional churches to pioneering urban missions, interact with “the Word”.

Course leader

Prof. Peter-Ben Smit, Prof. Klaas Spronk, Rev. Willemien van Berkum, Rev. Inge Landman

Target group


Course aim

Learning objectives:
• You expand and deepen your knowledge of both scriptural interpretation and the sociology of literature in general.
• You gain state-of-the-art knowledge of the theory of contextual biblical interpretation.
• You understand how contextually aware interpretations of Scripture contribute to ecclesiastical and societal transformations.

• You are familiar with the praxis of contextual biblical interpretation in the cosmopolitan city of Amsterdam.
• You are equipped to integrate these insights and skills into your own theological reflection and/or ministerial or academic practice.

Credits info

45 contact hours

Fee info

EUR 1150: Included in the tuition fee are:
• Airport pick-up service
• Orientation programme
• Course excursions
• 24/7 emergency assistance
• Transcript of records
• On-site support


• Early bird discount of €150
• €250 discount for students from partner universities.
• 10 scholarships available that cover the full tuition fee of one course.
• Combine 2 courses: €100 discount
• Combine 3 courses: €200 discount

Register for this course
on course website