In today’s heated political battles, biblical texts are wielded as authoritative evidence across the political spectrum. On what basis are contradictory interpretations judged? In a nation of religious freedom does faithful profession trump good exegesis? This course examines the use of biblical texts in the political battles of three moments of US history: the 1850s, the 1960s and today. In each period we examine specific biblical texts used to justify opposing political positions, asking how exegesis bears on contradictory interpretations and identifying patterns of use and misuse that help us intervene in the battles of today on the side of good news for the poor and in resistance to Christian nationalisms.

 Prerequisite: BX 101; or OT 101 and NT 101; or permission of the instructor.