Wednesday, December 31, 2008

That's nice, but what IS it?

“Despite the rapid and widespread rise in interest in theological interpretation, its theoreticians and practitioners (among whom the present author should be counted) sometimes quip that no one knows exactly what it is. That is not quite true, but there is in fact great diversity of opinion about what constitutes theological interpretation or exegesis. One thing that seems to be generally agreed upon, however, is that theological interpretation is not primarily about exegetical methods but about exegetical goals. What is the goal, or telos, of biblical exegesis? If the exegete is seeking only to understand a biblical text as an ancient text, as a purely human text—whether using diachronic or synchronic methods—that exegete is not doing theological interpretation. On the other hand, if the exegete seeks to understand a biblical text in order to appropriate its message as a guide for contemporary belief and behavior within a community of faith (either Christian or Jewish)—whether that goal is achieved with historical-critical, social-scientific, narrative, or other methods—that exegete is doing theological interpretation.

"...Christian theological interpretation is interpretation in, with, and for the church so that the church may in fact be the kind of church in the world that is appropriate to the Christian gospel."—The Elements of Biblical Exegesis, pages 145-146, 148

<idle musing>
I can get behind that description and goal very easily.
</idle musing>

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