A Comparison of the Characteristic Traits of Learning Theories in the Three Synoptic Gospels by Thematic Narrative Analysis
AuthorsThackray, Gordon J.
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AbstractMany writers have discussed aspects of pedagogy in connection with the books of the New Testament but few have related pedagogical elements observable in the Gospels to current theories of how people learn and the consequent teaching methods. I perform, here, a thematic narrative analysis of the synoptic gospel texts, with the focus of contemporary approaches to learning and teaching. The project aims to identify traits of pedagogic themes throughout these gospels, with a view to establishing if it is appropriate to describe any of them as characterised by one or other of the commonly recognised theories of learning. While such a characterisation is not expected to be perfect across any one Synoptic, it could prove possible to demonstrate sufficient correlation with some theoretical learning model to argue that the gospel is typified by that pedagogy. This thesis also compares and contrasts the three synoptic gospels, in respect of their emphasis on those themes. The thesis outlines the salient features of the currently prominent learning and teaching approaches and considers the applicability of each model to this investigation. The three approaches found most useful for the analysis are: that referred to as behaviourism in teaching; a cognitive, constructivist pedagogic model; and the strongly situated learning theory. The synoptic gospels are examined for aspects of those themes, where possible, as a series of parallel passages, each regarded as a bounded text segment. Special Lukan material is also considered, separately. Any reader’s interpretation of such a narrative is constructed from within their own pre-existing framework for understanding it. My reading of the Gospels here is, therefore, a personal response to the text, which has arisen from my experience working in adult education and training. The conclusion of this work is that all three synoptic gospels exhibit textual features corresponding to a specific teaching and learning model sufficiently consistently to regard them as substantially informed by it. Furthermore, the Synoptics each exemplify a different pedagogical approach. Matthew’s gospel portrays a predominantly behaviourist pedagogy, the Gospel of Mark a generally cognitivist, constructivist approach to learning and teaching and Luke the characteristics of a strongly situative learning theory. It is anticipated that the comparison presented here will provide a new contribution to the discussion of the differences between the otherwise parallel accounts evident within the first three gospels.
CitationThackray, G. J. (2018). A Comparison of the Characteristic Traits of Learning Theories in the Three Synoptic Gospels by Thematic Narrative Analysis. (Masters thesis). University of Chester, United Kingdom.
PublisherUniversity of Chester
TypeThesis or dissertation
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