Transformative Concepts and Troublesome Knowledge: Toward a Threshold Concept Framework for Biblical Studies

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John Van Maaren


Threshold concepts (TCs) are conceptual gateways that students must pass through in order for learning to progress, but which are often navigated with considerable difficulty. They are therefore both transformative and troublesome for student learning. While individual TCs have been identified in related disciplines, no study has addressed TCs for ways of thinking and practicing in biblical studies. In this paper, I first introduce the TC framework. I then take a first step toward developing a TC framework for biblical studies by proposing a set of TCs for the discipline of biblical studies. In conclusion, I provide guidelines, with practical examples, for integrating TCs into the biblical studies classroom.


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