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College offers course on reading Bible ‘through queer theory’ — it falls under ‘Religious Studies’

A new course at a liberal studies college in California offers an examination of the Bible through a "queer" lens. (Image source: YouTube screenshot)

A California college is offering a course for the 2019 semester called "Queer Theory and the Bible" — and the class falls under "Religious Studies."

What are the details?

Pomona College, a liberal arts college in Claremont, California, offers this explanation of the one-credit class: "This process of queering will allow and require us to approach the biblical text in new ways."

The course aims to teach students how to read the Bible through the lens of "queer theory," and its participants will examine portions of the holy book that are more centralized to "prohibitions on homosexuality," such as same-sex relations.

According to the course description, the course will also explore "the larger discourses of heteronormativity (constructed around gender, sexuality, class, national identity, state formations, kinship, children, etc.) in which homophobic readings of the Bible emerge."

"We will also look at the ways in which these discourses and the identities they shore up can be 'queered,' as well as at biblical texts that can be read as queer friendly," the description continues. "This process of queering will allow and require us to approach the biblical text in new ways."

Dr. Erin M. Runions, chair of religious studies, will teach the course.  Her research interests include "[t]he intersections of biblical interpretation and political philosophies, with their multiple impacts on political subjectivity, gender, sexuality, U.S. national sovereignty, and biopolitics."

According to the bio on her webpage, "[Runions] has also been an activist for many years, working on issues of police brutality and prison injustice, globalization, antiwar activism, feminist and queer organizing. She currently helps facilitate a writing workshop inside a women’s prison and is involved in the struggle for environmental justice in the city of Pomona."

Anything else?

● In April 2017, an LGBTQ activist reinterpreted Bible verses about homosexuality in an LGBT-"affirming" Harvard speech.

● Matthew Vines, who is also a biblical scholar, reinterpreted Scripture verses that typically condemn homosexuality.

● In December, Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, offered a course titled, "Queering the Bible," which was not dissimilar the upcoming Pomona College class. The course examined “queer and trans* readings of biblical texts” and “queer and trans* theoretical approaches” in an attempt to show class participants “the complexity of constructions of sex, gender, and identity in one of the most influential literary works produced in ancient times.” Additionally, the class's intent was to “[destabilize] long held assumptions about what the Bible — and religion — says about gender and sexuality.”

(H/T: Campus Reform)

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