What is Bibliodrama?
Bibliodrama comes from two Greek words: biblion, meaning book and in this context, the Bible; and drama, which means action or process. It describes a method of exploring the biblical texts.
Since 1967, Bibliodrama has been employed in literature. It evolved from a variety of origins – psychodrama, Christian theatre, play and theatre pedagogy, body works, and feminist theology, to name a few. Despite the great diversity of schools and practical approaches, there are common elements that ground Bibliodrama. These are the (1) translation of biblical texts into action, (2) identification with the available roles or characters, and (3) intention to deepen the experience of oneself and the Scripture.
Although closely identified with psychodrama, Bibliodrama has its uniqueness. On the one hand, psychodrama aims at identifying and getting rid of unresolved personal conflicts. Bibliodrama, on the other hand, seeks to link the deep religious dimension with one’s life story. Such is the content, aim and point of departure of Bibliodrama. Because it takes on the perspective that the biblical texts are an expression of intense human experiences with God, Bibliodrama provides mutual interpretation of the Holy Scripture and the individual or collective life.
Bibliodrama may be called a method of biblical interpretation, which considers the human person as a whole to the extent that the perception of the biblical text covers all the human dimensions – body, soul, spirit – as well as the social dimension. In fact, it offers an arena for this to happen. Through a dialogical and spiritual process between the text and the person, a new biblical spirituality can emerge.
Bibliodrama invites us to discover the importance of the
biblical texts in our personal faith situation.
It offers the possibility of entering into the texts and having a
dialogue with them, bridging the gap between the biblical texts and us. The texts always convey something new. Anyone can continue communicating with them
even without having studied theology first.
Anyone can perceive how his/her own experiences link up with those
evoked by the text. This, probably, is
the ‘secret’ of Bibliodrama success.
The Aim of Bibliodrama
Bibliodrama envisions the development of a culture of life and interchange so that faith relationship – the relationship with God, with Jesus and with the texts of Scripture – can be directly expressed. There is also another dimension, which is the experience of oneself.
Bibliodrama wants to discover the Scripture, the first and
most important source of faith in relationship with people by illuminating their
personal life and faith stories. It
encourages communication among those participating in Bibliodrama by engaging
them in a dialogue of perceptions, thoughts, and emotions. It promotes learning, with and for others,
and mutual help in order discover ad appreciate each other’s talents. Bibliodrama prepares the ground for a new understanding of faith and the
Scriptures and empowers one’s faith.
The Use of Bibliodrama
This method is used in the fields of religious pedagogy and
catechesis as well as in the ordinary spiritual and ecclesiastical
formation. Some of the Bibliodrama elements
can very well enrich a great number of liturgical or educational
activities. However, there are some
conditions Bibliodrama participants must fulfil. These are openness to and interest in the
Bible; disposition to work on and with one’s own life experiences;
participation in the Bibliodrama out of free will; willingness to engage in the
group process; and respect for the confidentiality of what turns up in the
In Bibliodrama, the participant does not hear moral
directives imposed on him/her, but rather is taken by the hand on the personal
search of what he/she really is.
Inasmuch as he/she discover the limits and dark sides, which are part of
the biblical characters, with whom he/she identifies himself/herself in the
play, the participant becomes capable of correcting himself/herself. It is not a moral appeal from outside which
pushes a conversion but rather an interior motivation, an inner sense which
encourages advancement in the personal way of spiritual growth.
"Bibliodrama creates a space where the participants can shed off the too intellectual and tight view of the Biblical texts and sets up an atmosphere where they can enter into a lively moment with the texts. Through this experience, the participants can learn to understand, interpret and change their life story in the light of the Word."
Bibliodrama: Entering in the Area of God’s Word by Fr. Thomas Heck, SVD
If you or your community is interested in experiencing Bibliodrama, you may contact the CBCP-ECBA office.
Available at the ECBA Office: Bibliodrama Manuals. Volume 2 with Music CD
The Episcopal Commission for the Biblical Apostolate (ECBA) is a pastoral commission of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) whose area of competence and service is the biblical-pastoral ministry in its five-fold ministries of:
Animating Biblical-Pastoral Formation
Organizing Bible Celebration
Promoting Bible Translation
Assisting Bible Production
Coordinating Bible Distribution
A Community of Disciples
nourished by the Word of God,
Witnessing to the Gospel,
and Striving to be a Church
that is poor and for the poor,
with Mary, Mother of the Word, as model.