School of Education


Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction (EdD)


L. Daniele Bradshaw


Biblical, Literature, Apologetics, Transcendental Phenomenology, Higher Education


Arts and Humanities | Biblical Studies | Christianity | English Language and Literature


This transcendental phenomenology describes the experience of public college students who study biblical or biblically-informed literary texts that are taught merely as cultural documents in literature and humanities courses. Two primary theories informed this study: transformation theory in adult learning and the theory of literary apologetics. Furthermore, qualitative methodologies of data collection included journaling, individual interviews with 13 public college students, and focus groups. Data analysis included epoche, member checks, and horizonalization. Three research questions guided the study: (1) How do public college students describe their experiences with biblical or biblically-informed literary texts when they are taught simply as cultural documents? (2) How do public college students describe the effect or influence that different classrooms, contexts, or situations have on their experience of the phenomenon (the phenomenon being experiencing biblical or biblically-informed literary texts taught as cultural documents)? (3) What does this experience mean, if anything, to students’ spiritual or ethical formation? Using open-coding enumeration via Atlas.ti software produced six major themes: biblical literacy/illiteracy as cultural literacy/illiteracy; exploring biblical content in literature with/without proselytization pressure; technology/format preferences and the tensions of interacting with biblically-informed literature as cultural texts; instructor “passion,” “safe” facilitation, and student-centered literary discussion; literary study as a neutral zone; and literary study as empathically formative. Future recommendations include conducting the same study in different geographical settings, considering literature as character education in higher education, and further exploring literary study as empathically formative.