Date of Submission

October 2006


To Know Worship and Love is the religious instruction curriculum produced and mandated for use by the Archdiocese of Melbourne. The primary series comprises a Teaching Companion and Student Text for every level of education, Preparatory to Year 6. This study undertakes examination of the series to determine if biblical metaphors for God which contain a physical vehicle are used and presented within it in accord with the accepted exegetical practices of the Church. The study begins by examining Church documents that pertain to both religious instruction and Scripture to determine a set of principles which should guide the use of Scripture. Notable among the six principles elucidated is the expectation that the use of Scripture should reflect accepted exegetical practices of the Church. These are defined as those which enable a clear understanding of the literal sense of Scripture, as ascertained through use of the Historical-Critical method. In order to come to a sound understanding of the literal sense of metaphors, the study reviews how they work and what results from their use. Such a review is important for two reasons. First, in the finding that metaphors for God prompt the formation of a concept of God, the need for their valid interpretation in religious instruction is stressed. Second, it enables the articulation of eight specific requirements for the interpretation of biblical metaphors for God. Subsequent examination of the series against what is required reveals that of the eight requirements, only one is provided within the series. No unit or activity identifies the sixty-three biblical metaphors cited in the series and no unit teaches students how they work to communicate meaning. No unit provides information of the vehicles used within their historical setting and no unit explains the historical circumstances which gave rise to the dominance of certain metaphors.;In order to explain why biblical metaphors for God are presented so poorly in To Know Worship and Love, the use of Scripture generally in the series is examined against the six principles drawn from Church documents. The finding that the series does not observe the principles which should guide the use of Scripture, in particular, the finding that the series does not use accepted exegetical practices of the Church, provides significant insight into the inadequate presentation of metaphors. The study concludes by making three recommendations. First, it recommends that a process of rewriting To Know Worship and Love must be undertaken immediately. Second, it recommends that the use and placement of Scripture in religious instruction programmes in the future adhere to the six principles of the Church outlined in this study. Third, it recommends that the clear and accurate teaching of what metaphors and how they work be made a priority in religious instruction programmes.

Document Type


Access Rights

Open Access


276 pages

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Faculty of Arts and Sciences