How to Please ‘Theological Interpretation’ Scholars

Now that ‘Theological Interpretation’ is becoming a more specialized sub-field, one can begin to get a sense for what such scholars like and dislike. Here is my list of do’s and dont’s.  This list is meant to be facetious…but I think there may be a grain of truth in some of these :)

1. Criticize traditio-historical exegesis

2. Make it apparent that you are only pursuing one possible ‘meaning’ of the passage

3. Always, always, always quote Barth.

4. Refer to Frei and Childs…but with some reservation

5. Feel free to dig out books and commentaries to refer to from any century you want.

6. Its OK to quote Bultmann, but only in reference to his comment that there is no such things as freedom from presuppositions.

7. The words ‘trinity’ and ‘trinitarian’ may be used liberally (= freely).

8.  The possibility of allegorizing Scripture is back on the table (after a very long hiatus…)

9. Try to use the word ‘hermeneutic(s)’ as often as possible

10. Sprinkle the words ‘unity of Scripture’ and ‘canonical’ around the essay.

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13 thoughts on “How to Please ‘Theological Interpretation’ Scholars

  1. Nijay,

    Outstanding! You forgot to add, “Talk about what theological exegesis would look like if anyone were actually to do it”.

  2. The whole problem (from my perspective) is that doing theology based on a “spiritualized text” is off center, as it limits all of the other information we have in the world, concerning the human being and life in the world….so philosophy is the best way to do theology, not Scriptures….doing theology based on Scripture is like resurrecting fundamentalism!

  3. May I suggest Watson’s “Text and Truth” and Moberly’s “The Bible, Theology, and Faith”? I think they try to do a bit more nuanced work than spiritualizing the text. See also Moberly’s article in JTI vol.2 no.1 where he responds to Barton’s charges against theological reading including the charges of fundamentalism.

  4. Ethics holds a more universal way of understanding human life and living life in the world. And with the discussion of “what is the human” being on the forefront of theological reflection, ethics would be practical as well.

  5. As a bit of personal commentary – in a recent article of mine (forthcoming, HORIZONS IN BIBLICAL THEOLOGY) I end with a quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Before the Theological Interpretation movement, I don’t think I could have gotten away with that!

  6. doing theology based on Scripture is like resurrecting fundamentalism!

    Not quite I would think. Moreover, if you do theology without any Scripture, why do you get to claim you are a continuing part of any story? You have to borrow something, start somewhere. And that generally starts with a text… doesn’t it?

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