2005 Student Research Conference:
18th Annual Student Research Conference

Social Science

The Dynamics of Divine Power/Sacred Knowledge: Foucault Meets Communities of the Word
Shaine A. Griggs
Dr. William Ashcraft, Faculty Mentor

Through the interpretive lens of Michel Foucault, the project aspires to critique evangelical/fundamentalist/conservative Christian doctrines that treat the Bible as the “inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God.” Many American Christians uphold variations of this doctrine, resulting in a counter-cultural phenomenon that profoundly shapes the way that its adherents view the world. The doctrines create and sustain and divide unique religious communities, who frequently confound outsiders with their impassioned applications of biblical texts. Divine authority constructs the basis for these systems of interpreting sacred scripture—thus the French philosopher and cultural critic Michel Foucault enters the picture. Foucault’s theories on the relationships between power and knowledge shed new light on those who ‘literally’ frame their lives via scandalous readings of the Bible. Provocative and controversial, Foucault’s radical left-wing politics instigate meaningful criticisms of right-wing Christian, ‘biblical politics'. The intersection between Foucault and such believers may stimulate further 'postmodern' religious dialogue.

Keywords: religious dialgoue, Foucault, Bible, Word of God, power and knowledge, Evangelicals, Fundamentalists, postmodern

Topic(s):Philosophy & Religion

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 58-5
Location: VH 1232
Time: 4:45

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