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Title: Biblical interpretation among Church of England lay people
Author: Village, Andrew
ISNI:       0000 0001 3547 3818
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2003
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Biblical interpretation among Church of England laity was assessed by questionnaire. Eleven churches took part in the final survey: 1800 questionnaires were distributed and 404 returned. Subjects read the healing story in Mark 9: 14-29 and then responded to questions on the passage, their attitudes to the bible and healing prayer. Liken scales assessed attitudes to the bible, morality, religious exclusivity and supernatural healing. Personality was assessed according to the Myers-Briggs typology using the Keirsey Temperament Sorter. Subjects from Evangelical churches had more conservative attitudes than those in Anglo-catholic or Broad churches. Attitudes were related to education level and the perceiving personality function, and were clustered according to level of conservatism and charismatic belief. Literal interpretation of the passage declined with age. Literal interpretation of biblical events declined with education level, but not among Evangelicals. Respondents preferred interpretations that matched their preferred perceiving or judging personality functions. Those who preferred intuition and feeling were also most likely to identify with characters in the story. Perception of horizon separation was related to familiarity with the passage, and preference for interpretative horizon was related to attitudes, judging personality function and education level. There was little evidence of strong community effects on interpretation. Dependence on others for interpretation was greater among women, negatively correlated with education level and positively correlated with age and personality preferences for sensing and feeling. Findings are discussed in relation to the roles of the individual, the Holy Spirit and the community in shaping interpretation, and to problems of evaluating interpretations in the church. Factors external to the text are important in generating meaning, but are sometimes less valuable in deciding between interpretations. Church and academy are fundamentally different worlds of discourse that overlap: the difference needs to be recognized, accepted and respected.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Hermeneutics