Biblical Ethics

Instructor: Miguel A. De La Torre


Office Hours: Arranged by email

Course Synopsis:

Purpose: Anyone who reads the Bible does so from a particular social location. We are all born into an on-going society that shapes us. When we turn our attention to the biblical text as the source of our ethical perspectives, we participate in a dialogue between the written word and the meanings our community taught us to give to these words. Many of us have been taught to read the Bible through the eyes of white, middle-class males. Yet, can the text liberate those who are oppressed? To do so, it must be read with the eyes of the disenfranchised. This course will explore how the Bible can be used to bring about justice for those who suffer due to race, class and gender oppression.

Objectives: The aim of this survey course is to enable students to accomplish the following goals: First, to read the Bible from the perspectives of those suffering from race, class and gender oppression.  Second, to investigate Biblical protest narratives as to the resistance and struggle against race, class and gender domination and oppression. Finally, to examine various liberationist Biblical interpretations as a source for overcoming dominant religious power structures.


Course Evaluation:

A pass/fail grade option is available. Please inform professor, in writing, by the third week of the class if you choose this option. No reasons need to be given.

For those who choose a letter grade, the following scale is used:
Final take home examination: 70%
Forum Posts: 20%
Academic Decorum: 10%

1) Written grades will be based on the final (70%). 10-12 pages for Masters; 20-25 pages for doctoral.  Written grades are determined as follows:

The student demonstrates exceptional quality in written work. Little room for improvement exists. Several primary sources (outside of class readings) are used in the writing assignment. Both effort and execution are first-rate. It is obvious that the reading assignment was critically analyzed. Student consistently posted responses of 250-400 words; careful to have read the instructions and questions in the topic so all the necessary components in the response was addressed. Responses included critical reflection on the material for the week and advance the discourse with any questions that might further stimulate discussion. Comments demonstrate a grasp of the relevant materials from the course as well as the posts from people in that thread.

The student’s work is above average. At least one primary source (outside of class reading) is used in the writing assignment. Student makes thoughtful posts, but they are less than 250 words and not engaged with the other comments being posted. It is obvious that the reading assignment was completed.

The student has fulfilled the minimal requirements for this course, making the minimum required posts. Effort and the execution of assignment are of average quality. It is obvious that the reading assignment was not thoughtfully read. There is room for improvement.

The student work is below average. It is obvious that the reading assignment was not done. Posts consist of a few words or a sentence. The student is not living up to the expectations of graduate-level work.

The student failed to accomplish the class assignments.

A late paper will lose one letter grade for each week that it is turned in late. If extra ordinary circumstances exist which prevent the student from completing her/his assignment on time, then the student needs to contact the professor to discuss an alternative schedule prior to when the assignment is due. Students who do not hand in ALL completed assignments must make prior signed arrangements for an Incomplete.

Students not making these prior arrangements will automatically receive an "F" for the course.

2) 10% of the grade is based on academic decorum. Being consistently present during forum discussions is a baseline expectation. Grade decorum is based on the following:

The student is respectful of others. While disagreeing or challenging, the student never dishonors or disrespects.

Every so often the student attacks another student rather than challenging or disagreeing with whatever point of view is being offered.

The student is disrespectful and is not willing to entertain different views.

The student disrupts the learning experience of others by the way they conduct themselves in on the forum discussions.

The student creates a hostile experience.

Submission of Assignments: In an effort to reduce our carbon footprint, we ask that no assignment be submitted in paper form. Please electronically submit your final using your first initial and last name as the file name (i.e., mdelatorre).

Incomplete Policy: Students are responsible for following the procedures outlined in the attached document.



This quarter, we'll be having several Zoom meeting sessions as a way of communicating "in person" as well as through the online discussion forums.  These sessions will be a great way to talk about the readings and pose questions and comments in live format, and get some face time with your instructor! Please attend at least two of the sessions.

We'll be holding them on different dates and times.

They will be held on the following dates:

3/31   at 7pm - Link to:

4/8      at 6pm - Link to:

4/16   at 5pm - Link to:

4/23    at 5pm - Link to:

4/29    at 6pm - Link to:

5/5       at 7pm - Link to:

5/11    at 7pm - Link to:




Required Readings:

Athaus-Reid, Marcella. The Queer God . New York: Routledge, 2003.

Boff, Clovis and George V. Pixley. The Bible, the Church, and the Poor . Maryknoll, NY: Orbisd Books, 1986.

De La Torre, Miguel A. The Politics of Jesùs : A Hispanic Political Theology , Laham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2015.

Dube, Musa W. Postcolonial Feminist Interpretation of the Bible . St Louis: Chalice Press, 2000.

Gafney, Wilda C. Womanist Midrash: A Reintroduction to the Women of the Torah and the Throne . Louisville: Westminister John Knox, 2017. READ INTRODUCTION AND FIRST FIVE CHAPTERS

Ipsen, Avaren. Sex Working and the Bible . London: Equinox Publishing, 2009.

Liew, Tat-siong Benny. What is Asian American Biblical Hermeneutics?: Reading the New Testament . Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2008.

Sugirtharajah, R.S. Postcolonial Reconfigurations: An Alternative Way of Reading the Bible and Doing Theology . St Louis: Chalice Press, 2003.

Mar 23, 2020MonIntroductionsdue by 05:59AM
Mar 30, 2020MonReading the Bible Objectively / Subjectivelydue by 05:58AM
Apr 06, 2020MonReading the Bible with Latinx Eyesdue by 05:59AM
Apr 13, 2020MonReading the Bible with Asian Eyesdue by 05:58AM
Apr 14, 2020TueThesis Statementdue by 05:59AM
Apr 20, 2020MonReading the Bible with African-American Eyesdue by 05:58AM
Apr 27, 2020MonReading the Bible with Postcolonial Eyesdue by 05:58AM
May 04, 2020MonReading the Bible with Feminist Eyesdue by 05:58AM
May 11, 2020MonReading the Bible with Queer Eyesdue by 05:58AM
May 18, 2020MonReading the Bible with the Eyes of the Poordue by 05:58AM
May 25, 2020MonReading the Bible with the Eyes of Sex Workersdue by 05:58AM
May 30, 2020SatFinal Examdue by 05:59AM