Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Finished: Renewing Biblical Interpretation

Finally i managed to eat up all the drydust found in Renewing Biblical Interpretation. I got the book from a flee-book stall last year but didn't had the chance to sit through it in a week or two, like how i treated the others. Nonetheless i'd read it!

Well, actually i didn't finish the whole book. I skipped 2 chapters.

This book is the sort of literature that i dont expect myself full apprehension. Its making involved 18 scholars across the Atlantic together with 4 academic institutions.

The 18 scholars:

Brevard S. Childs
Craig G. Bartholomew
Christopher R. Seitz
Walter Sundberg
John Riches
Al Wolters
Rex Mason
Neil B. MacDonald
Mary B. Hesse
Karl Möller
Thorsten Moritz
Colin J.D. Greene
Stephen I. Wright
Harry Daniel Beeby
Brian D. Ingraffia
Trevor Hart
Nicholas Wolterstorff
Walter Brueggemann

The 4 institutions:

British and Foreign Bible Society
University of Gloucestershire
Baylor University
Redeemer University College

At best, this humble attempt to read the work is to expose myself to conversations that are taking place among the learned community. At worst, it's a collector's item on my shelf.

Looking back, the chapter that i find most interesting and understandable is the concluding essay titled 'A First Retrospect on the Consultation' by Walter Brueggemann. The others are as dry as dust.

Anyway, the major theme that this book is pointing out is that there is a need to re-address the place of Scripture in current scholarships. Since the rise of critical-historical criticism in the 19th century, the Bible had never been examined as vigourous as before. Since then, there are many insights and data being discovered about this religious book. Should i say none of the other books of other faiths has been submitted to this much of scrutiny and yet still retain an intellectual standing of its own. Due to theses extensive research, conducted on the Bible by great critics, there is prevalent skepticism among the informed Bible readers regarding its validity as the authoritative Scripture in the Church. It seems that the more data being discovered, recovered, and formulated in the academia concerning the Bible, the less esteemed it became. In other words, the more we know about the Bible as we are knowing now, the more the Bible became unknowable as it used to be.

It was precisely to this concern that Craig Bartholomew and the other renounced Bible readers gather together in April 1998 for the first Scripture And Hermeneutics Seminar consultation to address this very matter. 'Renewing Biblical Interpretation' is their first fruit. Their first big fruit.

And i think this 'crisis' in biblical interpretation need nothing less than such consultation involving the Who's Who in the field of biblical and philosophical hermeneutic to talk, teach, and learn from one another with shared empathies. And when giants talk to giants, the midget me get to listen.

Ok, good words are off, it's complain time. Although the book is very informing and illuminating, there is one weakness to which i think rather ironic. One of the chapter in the book talks about aesthetic in reading and preaching the Scripture, written by Stephen I. Wright (who i suspect is N.T Wright's brother). But this book's cover lack precisely that. The cover is ugly. Although there are plentiful meaning in the picture as described in the first few pages of the book, but the message is not compatible with the cover. Yes, the message is beautiful, but i think the cover shouldn't be less aesthetically attractive.

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