Texts and Traditions Units 1 – 4
In Unit 1 students examine the place of sacred texts and their literary forms within a religious tradition. Students explore the importance of sacred texts as the source of a tradition and learn how to interpret and describe their meaning for the earlier and continuing tradition.
In Unit 2 students study sacred texts as a means of investigating social attitudes on issues such as social structures, justice, authority, the environment, racism, gender and others. Therefore, the texts selected for study should be potential sources of ideas about these or other issues in society. Some of the texts may call for change in attitudes and values; others may call for changes in social, religious and political institutions. Some texts may justify or support existing social, cultural, religious and political institutions, works, attitudes and values.
The texts of a particular religious tradition are foundational in that they recount, for example, specific events, narratives, laws, prophetic pronouncements and teachings that describe the beginnings and initial development of a religious tradition. In Unit 3 students explore the society and culture from which the religious tradition being studied was formed. They develop an understanding of the historical background that influenced the texts themselves.
In Unit 4 students continue to apply exegetical methods to the passages for special study begun in Unit 3, but to greater depth.
Some texts are regarded as essential for the continuation of a religious tradition because they function as a means of communicating teachings or understandings about the relationship between the human and the transcendent. These understandings are often expressed through themes in the particular texts. Some of the themes contained in the foundational texts have been reinterpreted at different times by the religious tradition. In this unit students study a significant theme contained in the set text and consider the interpretation of the text in light of the theme.