Lecture to explore the Bible as ‘A Matter of Politics’

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

Dr. Jacob Wright has taken a fresh look at the reason the Bible was written, and will discuss his findings at Augustana College during a free presentation, open to the public, on Monday, March 18, at 7 p.m. in Wallenberg Hall, inside Denkmann Memorial Hall (3520 7th Ave.).

Dr. Wright, who teaches at Emory University in the Candler School of Theology, offers evidence to support the idea that the original Hebrew Bible was a political instrument, intended to create a common sense of identity for people who had no nation of their own.

His perspective, “Why Was the Bible Written – A Matter of Politics,” is a presentation of Augustana’s annual Stone Lectureship on Judaism, sponsored by an endowment established in 1983 in honor of Dr. and Mrs. Alex B. Stone of Rock Island.

Dr. Wright notes that numerous books have treated the “who, what, when and where” of Biblical inquiry, but few ever ask “why,” which he regards as the most intriguing question, one that determines how we approach all other matters related to the Bible. He also offers a surprising thesis—that the Biblical  authors intended to create a radically new form of political community.

Dr. Wright teaches courses on Biblical interpretation, the history and archaeology of ancient Israel, and Northwest Semitic languages. His book, Rebuilding Identity: The Nehemiah Memoir and Its Earliest Readers, won a 2008 Templeton prize, the largest prize for first books in religion. He has lectured internationally, and Dr. Wright was awarded a 2011-12 National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship.