Monday, January 9, 2012

What Is "Theological Interpretation of Scripture"?

My buddy Uche answers that question in this very brief, very simple, very helpful introduction to a movement in scholarship that I like (and that he embodies).

Read his answer here.

1 comment:

  1. Unabashedly 'returning' to precritical, medieval 'modes of interpretation'? Using 'confessional or creedal statements' to 'guide the reading of Scripture'?

    This sounds like something that the reformed authoritarians who comprise the sundry Christian fiefdoms (how medieval!) of North America (The Resurgence, DesiringGod, 9Marks, etc etc) will love. We can reaffirm our pre-democratic, anti-egalitarian creeds by using them to guide the reading of scripture. And we don't really have to justify our assumptions now because postmodernism says that no one can be neutral! Though we'll still find a way to fit the package of orthodox, reformed doctrine as truth into this mystical premodern/postmodern matrix of interpretation.

    This seems rather silly as some kind of engagement with 'postmodernism' or response to modernism. Were the key postmodern thinkers (Foucault, Lyotard, Baudrillard, Derrida, etc.) calling for some kind of 'precritical' lapse as a reasonable response to their ideas about epistemology, ontology, economics, culture, etc? And what do we make of their trenchent critiques of consumer capitalism? The Christian Church circa 2012 never really talks about that. We seem LOVE capitalism over here in Western Christianity because we think we can link the pursuit of every individual's own self-interest with Christian 'ethics' in an unbreakable bond. We pick and choose the elements of postmodernity that we deem relevant and therefore worthy of condemnation or adoption. No need to justify those more uncomfortable, unspoken assumptions because postmodernity says its okay.

    I'm still waiting for Christian scholars to engage seriously with actual postmodern writers (Carson's relatively modernist treatment notwithstanding), rather than in the cliches (no one is objective! that is all) that we derive and spread. By that I don't mean wholesale rejection or capitulation...I mean honest engagement beyond cliche. The fact that TIS, the emerging church, and banal/inane pop 'art' like "I Hate Religion But Love Jesus" are the productive Christian responses to postmodernity makes me very pessimistic about this moment in church history.(Kevin DeYoung actually called that 'poem' 'well-crafted,' his exaggerated reservations notwithstanding. They don't teach literature in seminary, do they?)

    - CW -