Digital Hermeneutics and the Reception of the Bible


Course Objective

The student who has successfully completed this course
• Has knowledge of the field of Digital Humanities and the various types
of tools that are used in Biblical Studies.
• Is able to apply these DH tools (e.g. Text-Fabric, SHEBANQ, Paratext)
in a systematic fashion in Biblical Studies.
• Is able to reflect critically on the assumptions, limitations and
possiblities of these tools.
• Is able to report the findings of his/her DH research in a systematic
way to a group of peers.

Course Content

This course focuses on the interaction between the two seemingly
unrelated practices of computation and hermeneutics. The human-computer
interaction that is crucial in every application of digital methods in
Biblical Studies greatly affects the analytical procedures and the
outcomes. This relates to linguistic categories, but also to decisions
about the inclusion of texts, versions, resources and translations in
programmes such as Paratext. The courses offer a training in the use of
computational textual analysis on the database of the Eep Talstra Centre
for Bible and Computer (ETCBC) and its representation in SHEBANQ and
Text-Fabric and computer-tools used in Bible Translation, such as the
UBS package Paratext. The students will develop skills to work with
these digital tools and get insight in the way in which systematic,
quantitative research can contribute to a better understanding and
translation of the Bible and thus help to address interpretative and
hermeneutical questions.

Teaching Methods

Introductory and practical sessions and a final paper.

Method of Assessment

• Tasks during the course (reflections on articles studied in the course
preparation; assignments in SHEBANQ, Text-Fabric and Paratext): 30%
• Paper at end of course in which the student applies digital tools to a
specific case from the Old Testament or the New Testament: 70%


Literature will be announced in the study guide that will be made
available in Canvas.

Target Audience

Students who are interested in Biblical Studies and in Bible Translation
and who are interested in the impact of a broad range of computational
approaches on the study of ancient scriptures.
This module is part of the track "Digital Humanities and Biblical
Studies" of the Research Master.

Recommended background knowledge

Students are required to have completed the basic training in biblical
exegesis (including training in Greek and Hebrew) as it is part of the
BA Theology offered by VU University Amsterdam, or an equivalent
Affinity with Digital Humanities is recommended, but not required.

General Information

Course Code G_RMBS05
Credits 6 EC
Period P1
Course Level 400
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Religion and Theology
Course Coordinator prof. dr. W.T. van Peursen
Examiner prof. dr. W.T. van Peursen
Teaching Staff prof. dr. L.J. de Vries
prof. dr. W.T. van Peursen

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Seminar
Target audiences

This course is also available as: