This project seeks to explore how the personal spiritual lives of students (ordinands, trainee Readers and independents) at a Church of England theological education institution are affected by their participating in introductory study of both Testaments, within the framework of Common Awards. It will focus particularly on the students' employment of the Bible in their personal devotions. The research will consist of student reflections on their personal spirituality both as they begin and as they end level 4 studies on the Bible. It is to be hoped that findings will inform an approach towards delivering biblical studies which enables students to integrate their learning into their personal biblical engagement in such a way as to enrich spiritual formation and avoid any risk of undermining it. Might those undergoing theological education take on a new, critically-informed approach to their studies which nevertheless makes no impact upon their spirituality or personal devotional use of the Bible? Or might they be left in what Ricoeur termed a 'desert of criticism'? This project hopes to begin to answer those questions.
Dr Cherryl Hunt, funded by a Durham University Common Awards Research Network seedcorn grant, September 2017–September 2018.