Nathan Hershberger received his PhD in Christian Theological Studies from Duke University in 2022. His area of interest centers on the intersection between suffering, scripture, and moral formation. His current research explores historical case studies in which scripture has been embodied transformatively after being implicated in past harms. Prior to doctoral studies Nathan served for three years with Mennonite Central Committee in Iraq and completed an MA in Religious Studies at the University of Virginia. He currently teaches high school Social Studies and Bible at Eastern Mennonite School in Harrisonburg, Virginia.
Nathan will be presenting on "Were We Not ‘Children of the Promise?’: Peoplehood, Painful Scriptures, and the Fortitude of Elias Chacour.”
The Bible is bound up with communal identity. With the development of modern nationalism and colonialism the entanglement of scripture with the drama of peoplehood has become far more fraught. The case of Palestinian Christians provides an illuminating vantage point from which to survey these difficulties. How can Palestinian Christians read scripture well when history marks them unjustly as the enemies of the people of God? In the memoir and writings of Elias Chacour—more detailed than any other Palestinian Christian autobiography—we may discern the stubborn limits and joyful possibilities of a life lived under such a burden. Though not without his own difficulties, Chacour demonstrates Scripture’s ability to form communal identity for positive agency, even as this very capacity allows for the possibility of destructive nationalism. Holding to this capacity with charity and fortitude allows Palestinian Christians to read scripture as a book of life and not death.
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