The NBS Seminar is a dynamic community made up of storytelling scholars and scholarly storytellers. Many of our members have written books about biblical performance criticism.

Many participants in the seminar are professors at seminaries and colleges around the United States; others are full time professional storytellers and clergy who use storytelling as a central dimension of their ministry. We are pursuing a coordinated program of research from our varied perspectives on biblical methodology, interpretation, and pedagogy. We gather for several days prior to the NBS Festival Gathering in order to develop a new paradigm for biblical scholarship called Performance Criticism. We base this new paradigm on the actual performance of biblical texts as a way to explore the interface and interaction between biblical storytelling and biblical scholarship.

As members of the seminar we acknowledge both the gift and the danger that comes with the practice of telling biblical stories. Typically our meetings involve engagement with current projects that the Seminar members are pursuing in their own vocations. Often we have dedicated whole days to exploring particular biblical texts through repeated performances and reflection. In other sessions, we have explored themes such as:

  • Performance Criticism: An Emerging Methodology
  • Storytelling and the Gospels
  • Biblical Storytelling and Biblical Scholarship
  • Storytelling and the Composition of Social Space
  • Experience in Storytelling: Past and Present
  • Storytelling and the Art of Teaching Theology
  • Memory and Imagery
  • Taking up Space
  • Women and Storytelling in the Ancient World
  • Biblical Storytelling and the Experience of Liminality
  • The Ethics of Performance

While the primary goal of gathering has been scholarly, the regular and rigorous engagement with biblical performances has knit us together into a diverse community that cares for one another not only in professional aspects of our lives, but also in deeply personal dimensions.

The Seminar was born thanks to the commitment of NBS leadership. The members of the Seminar actively seek ways to strengthen this relationship offering their expertise to NBS communication media and events as well as learning from NBS members about the art and practice of biblical storytelling.

To learn more about the Seminar and request information about participation email Phil Ruge-Jones at rugejones@gmail.com

You can also visit the following websites to learn more about biblical performance criticism and biblical storytelling: