"My goal isn't to tell [the students] what the text is, or to tell them what Paul's message is or what Jesus' message is in a particular parable. My goal is to ask the right questions, show them the right paths in order that together we can come up with answers to the questions. I'm not a guru of the bible; I'm a guide."
Even as a little boy, Eric Barreto loved school so much that he was upset if heavy rains in his native Puerto Rico prevented attendance. "I would cry those days," he said.
That passion for learning ultimately inspired him to teach others. As a college student teaching English in China, he learned that he finds the "moment of understanding" — when students have learned something new — to be hugely rewarding.
Barreto is pleased to be part of Luther Seminary. "I really like the community of scholars and teachers who are gathered here," he said. "I think that's a relatively rare combination to have in a faculty: people who are both committed to the continuing education of the church and to really excellent classroom education."
A native Spanish speaker, Barreto was immersed in an all-English classroom at age 5. He remembers the challenges of learning a new language. "I think that shapes the way I teach Greek," he said. "I always try to remember when I'm teaching Greek to students that learning a new language as an adult is an incredibly difficult task."
Barreto moved to the United States at age 9 leaving him familiar with a newcomer's experience. Coming from the Baptist tradition, he has often studied and now teaches other traditions. These experiences color his approach to the New Testament. "I try to pay really close attention to modern context and how issues like gender, race, ethnicity and denominational differences make a difference in how we read."
In the classroom, Barreto finds that his students learn best while reading the text together. "My goal isn't to tell them what the text is, or to tell them what Paul's message is or what Jesus' message is in a particular parable. My goal is to ask the right questions, show them the right paths in order that together we can come up with answers to the questions. I'm not a guru of the Bible; I'm a guide."