Old Testament Essays
On-line version ISSN 2312-3621
Print version ISSN 1010-9919
ROBERTS, Jennifer J. and GOUS, Ignatius G.P.. Excavating minds in the information age: Empirical research relating to the teaching of Biblical Archaeology. Old testam. essays [online]. 2012, vol.25, n.1, pp.127-161. ISSN 2312-3621.
Does the curriculum content of Biblical Archaeology as being taught at the University of South Africa (UNISA) develop the skills necessary for, and expected by the students and the market place? What motivates students to register for post graduate studies in religion? How can these questions be answered with scientific rigour? One could expect that these students would like to deepen their faith. Empirical research into student motivation for studying Biblical Archaeology, however, paints another picture - suggesting a pilgrimage of discovery. This is one of the interesting results that can be obtained through a simple empirical survey questionnaire. By posing nine questions, over 100 pieces of information can be obtained. Historically, research methodologies employed in Biblical Studies have been based on the phenomenological paradigm. By employing a positivist approach, the results of research conducted into student motivation for studying Biblical Archaeology at UNISA, provide far deeper insights into student profiles, motivations and expectations. Teaching staff, not only in Biblical Archaeology, need to be equipped to understand this information which can be obtained through empirical investigation. Seen from this angle, Biblical Archaeology is not merely about teaching how to turn stones -it is to be taught to turn life into a meaningful journey through the past, while keeping an eye on the present, and it could be done by including course material such as aspects of tourism in a space where people of all convictions can participate in the journey.