Teaching and assessing Old Testament exegesis in Africa with attention to the development of the necessary thinking skills
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During nine years of teaching most subjects at the Hefsiba Theological School in Vila Ulongue, Angonia, Mozambique, the researcher and other lecturers observed certain problems while assessing the students' sermons, projects and examinations. These difficulties had to do with the application of certain thinking skills. The lack of many of these thinking skills were so severely felt that the lecturers were tempted to ask only the type of questions that they know the students could answer, namely: straightforward questions, testing for knowledge of content only. It was even suggested that it is not worth it to let students do independent research and dissertations in the African context. The problems students experience during the exegetical process, as seen during this research in Mozambique cannot be remedied by supplying more knowledge about hermeneutical theories and philosophies. It has to do with the thinking abilities necessary to analyze and interpret the original meaning of the text in a valid way and then compare and apply it to new situations. Exegesis is fundamental to all theological subjects. Weak analysis and interpretation of Scripture affect all areas of a Pastor's work and consequently the realization of God's Kingdom by all believers. Therefore, better exegesis is crucial for better teaching and applying of biblical principles in the different situations congregations encounter in the modern world. Chapter 1 explores these problems and the hypotheses and objectives of this research. Chapter 2 presents an investigation of the specific problems, including problems with thinking skills, typically encountered during the exegetical process. The extent of the lack of thinking skills apparent during the exegetical process will be studied. The effects of a reading efficiency and comprehension course will be reviewed. Chapter 3 gives an exposition of the biblical bases for developing thinking skills. Chapter 4 gives an overview of applicable insights from educational science, educational psychology, anthropology and others pertaining to the problems investigated, also in the African context, will be given. Chapter 5 incorporates some important insights in an agricultural metaphor, which aims at the collaboration of lecturers at Bible Schools, adapting their teaching strategies in order to develop their students. Chapter 6 offers a demonstration course for the learning of basic exegesis in the African context. Insights gained during the previous chapters are applied. Much can and should be done to remedy the existing problems in the teaching and practicing of exegesis.
- Theology