Words upon the Word: An Ethnography of Evangelical Group Bible Study by James BieloWords upon the Word: An Ethnography of Evangelical Group Bible Study by James Bielo

Words upon the Word: An Ethnography of Evangelical Group Bible Study

byJames Bielo

Paperback | April 1, 2009

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Evangelical Bible study groups are the most prolific type of small group in American society, with more than 30 million Protestants gathering every week for this distinct purpose, meeting in homes, churches, coffee shops, restaurants, and other public and private venues across the country. What happens in these groups? How do they help shape the contours of American Evangelical life? While more public forms of political activism have captured popular and scholarly imaginations, it is in group Bible study that Evangelicals reflect on the details of their faith. Here they become self-conscious religious subjects, sharing the intimate details of life, interrogating beliefs and practices, and articulating their version of Christian identity and culture.

In Words upon the Word, James S. Bielo draws on over nineteen months of ethnographic work with five congregations to better understand why group Bible study matters so much to Evangelicals and for Evangelical culture. Through a close analysis of participants' discourse, Bielo examines the defining themes of group life—from textual interpretation to spiritual intimacy and the rehearsal of witnessing. Bielo's approach allows these Evangelical groups to speak for themselves, illustrating Bible study's uniqueness in Evangelical life as a site of open and critical dialogue. Ultimately, Bielo's ethnography sheds much needed light on the power of group Bible study for the ever-evolving shape of American Evangelicalism.

Title:Words upon the Word: An Ethnography of Evangelical Group Bible StudyFormat:PaperbackDimensions:208 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.68 inPublished:April 1, 2009Publisher:NYU PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0814791220

ISBN - 13:9780814791226


Editorial Reviews

"What gives this book an edge beyond previous research is the extensive qualitative data it draws upon; it is a relatively short book based upon an impressive amount of fieldwork... The strengths of the work include its conciseness, readability, and rich but selective use of conversations extracted from Bielo's vast ethnographic data. Wisely, each of the chapters draws evidence from one particular small group—a group whose meeting culture nicely highlights the theme he is exploring—rather than extracting bits and pieces from his total data set of 19 groups... This text will, hopefully, attract more attention to the field of small group research, a large and diverse field ripe and waiting for further scholarly investigation."-Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses,