The Danger of a Single Christian Story

Class Number: 
Week One
June 7-11
1:30-4:00 EDT

Class Price: 

This course is full and is no longer open to registration.

This will be an online course instructed via Zoom. This course is capped at 19 participants. 

In 2009, Nigerian author Chimamanda Adichie delivered a TED talk titled, “The Danger of a Single Story.” Sharing stories from her own life, Adichie illustrates her ultimate point: “It is impossible to engage properly with a place or person without engaging with all of the stories of that place and that person.” Single story-ism erases the truth, beauty, and depth that emerge when you engage all the stories of a place or person. As Adichie says, “It robs people of dignity.” Racism, able-ism, misogyny, and xenophobia can all be traced to a kind of single-storyism. What happens when Christians treat the Gospel as a single story? Too often in both the church and the academy, the multiplicity of the four canonical Gospels has been treated as a problem to be overcome, rather than a significant point worth celebrating. Throughout history, Christians have used the Gospel story in a singular way to dehumanize others and rob them of their dignity. What would change if we took seriously the fact that there is more than one Gospel narrative in the New Testament canon? What if the Christian imagination is restricted when we believe there is only one right way to understand Jesus’ stories? In this course on the four canonical Gospels, we will explore the beauty of multiplicity and diversity in the Gospel narratives, and in the communities that read them. We will consider the dangers of Christian single storyism, and, conversely, the power of many stories to liberate, to empower, to redeem.

Michal Beth Dinkler biography to be posted soon.

Yale Divinity School

Michal Beth Dinkler