Original Research

Reading and proclaiming the Birth Narratives from Luke and Matthew: A study in empirical theology amongst curates and their training incumbents employing the SIFT method

Leslie J. Francis, Greg Smith
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 69, No 1 | a2001 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v69i1.2001 | © 2013 Leslie J. Francis, Greg Smith | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 April 2013 | Published: 30 July 2013

About the author(s)

Leslie J. Francis, Warwick Religions and Education Research Unit, University of Warwick, United Kingdom; Department of New Testament Studies, University of Pretoria, South Africa
Greg Smith, Warwick Religions and Education Research Unit, University of Warwick, United Kingdom; Department of New Testament Studies, University of Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

Drawing on Jungian psychological type theory, the SIFT method of biblical hermeneutics and liturgical preaching suggests that the reading and proclaiming of scripture reflects the psychological type preferences of the reader and preacher. This thesis is examined amongst two samples of curates and training incumbents (N = 23, 27), serving in one Diocese of the Church of England, who completed the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Firstly, the narrative of the shepherds from Luke was discussed by groups organised according to scores on the perceiving process. In accordance with the theory, sensing types focused on details in the passage, but could reach no consensus on the larger picture, and intuitive types quickly identified an imaginative, integrative theme, but showed little interest in the details. Secondly, the narrative of the massacre of the infants from Matthew was discussed by groups organised according to scores on the judging process. In accordance with theory, the thinking types identified and analysed the big themes raised by the passage (political power, theodicy, obedience), whilst the feeling types placed much more emphasis on the impact that the passage may have on members of the congregation mourning the death of their child or grandchild.

Keywords

SIFT; hermeneutics; psychological type; psychology; Bible; religion

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