Reading the Scriptures
One-Year Part-Time Courses
26 Thursday Evenings & 6 Saturdays per year
The Ministry of the Word
The reading of the Scriptures in the liturgy is entrusted to gifted members of the Christian community who study and prepare for this ministry. The training of readers involves the development of several skills:
To read with the understanding that comes from awareness of the literary, historical, cultural and theological features of the variety of writings that make up the Bible
To read with an appreciation of the diverse and often figurative ways in which the Scriptures have been received within the Church's living tradition of worship
To read with competence gained through training in the art of verbal communication
To read with faith and conviction.
This course consists of a comprehensive introduction to contemporary biblical studies, the role of Scripture in the liturgy and aspects of speech training. Learners may take the course simply for personal enrichment, or to enhance their ministry of the word. Those who plan to proceed to Phase 2 of the course (2005-2006) have the option of having their learning assessed for an academic award by essays, projects and an annual examination. The Institute is currently engaged in negotiations for the recognition of this award within the Irish higher education system.
The course lasts for one academic year. Classes take place on 26 Thursday evenings (7.00 until 10.00 p.m.) and six Saturdays (10.00 a.m. - 5.00 p.m.). Once a month, students meet in small learning groups at any convenient time and place. The teaching and learning take the form of lectures, discussions, group work, practical sessions in aspects of speech training and personal study. The Institute's library resources include a reading room, a lending library and IT facilities. A visit to the Chester Beatty Library and the Irish Jewish Museum is organized as part of the course.
The course aims to help participants to become intelligent readers of the biblical text and reflective practitioners of the ministry of the word. The texts for study are drawn chiefly from the Sunday readings, as found in the Roman Lectionary and its ecumenically accepted modified version, The Revised Common Lectionary. They are explored in their original social, historical and cultural context, taking into account their literary genre and composition history.
There is a particular focus on the Scriptures as received in the rites, prayers and readings of the Church's liturgy. Training in the performative aspects of the course is conducted by professionals in voice production, microphone technique, literature, drama and communication.
Learning about the art and craft of proclaiming the Scriptures from Sean MacReamoinn (2nd from right) during a visit to the Chester Beatty Library
The Newman Institute acknowledges the gracious hospitality of Dr Michael Ryan and the CBL staff.