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Reclaiming the Bible for the Church [Paperback]

By Carl E. Braaten (Editor) & Robert W. Jenson (Editor)
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Item Number 144128  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   137
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.98" Width: 6" Height: 0.39"
Weight:   0.53 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 27, 1995
Publisher   Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
ISBN  0802808980  
EAN  9780802808981  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
These essays address the crisis of biblical authority and interpretation in the church, focusing in particular on the inadequacy of the historical-critical method of hermeneutics, addressing from various perspectives the notorious gap between the historical-critical approach to the study of the Bible and the church's liturgical and dogmatic transmission of biblical faith. The authors, following Childs' "canonical method" of biblical interpretation, argue that the historical-critical method should not of itself set the agenda for biblical reading. Contributors: Robert W. Jenson, Carl E. Braaten, Elizabeth Achtemeier, Brevard S. Childs, Karl P. Donfried, Roy A. Harrisville, Thomas Hopko, Aidan J. Kavanaugh, Alister E. McGrath.

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More About Carl E. Braaten & Robert W. Jenson

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Carl E. Braaten is professor emeritus of systematic theology at Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and former executive director of the Center for Catholic and Evangelical Theology.

Carl E. Braaten currently resides in Northfield, in the state of Minnesota. Carl E. Braaten was born in 1929.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Needed Corrective (or, " what is scholarship?")  Sep 19, 2003
In the listed review of this book, the reviewer states that this book is, "Interesting as a non-fundamentalist criticism of modern biblical scholarship [and that] the collection may provoke useful thought on the possibility of critical space amid institutions (academic, religious, and otherwise) more inclined to be self-reproducing than to cultivate critical reflection." Elsewhere he writes, "Biblical interpretation, they agree, is a theological matter, a matter of faith rather than of academic criticism."

In my reading of the book, the given reviewer both misses that point and proves the book's point. The authors, all well respected scholars of international standing, take issue with the current trend in many seminaries and universities of approaching the scriptures from the starting point that they cannot possibly be true in any real way. This is why the previous review misses the point. The authors are not against using their brains or modern scholarship, but they ask, "What exactly is scholarship?" I would ask the reviewer if he has ever actually read what Spong or the Jesus Seminar put out. If that is honest scholarship, then the academic community is serious trouble.

Donfried's essay, along with the others, takes issue with the politicization of scriptural interpretation. Is it honest scholarship to have an agenda that clearly is not based upon the text and then to read the bias into the meaning of the text only to act surprised that, in fact, the scriptures claim Jesus was just a pale Galilean who, had he lived just a bit more, would have seen things differently? It is actually more of an act of faith to do so than to take the gospels as they have been taken throughout the ages since it requires the "scholar" to go against every notion of both common sense and acceptable exegetical methods. So much for intellectual honesty and rigor!

A note about orthodox Christian scholarship being "self-reproducing": The authors of this book take issue with the current trend, for over 20 years now, of publish or perish. That is, unless an author comes up with some very odd or controversial thesis, the paper or book will not get published and the university will start asking them, "So, where's the papers and books you need to write to keep us happy?" Ask any professor in the humanities. The temptation to write wacky articles with only shreds of documentation is very powerful. This is especially true in the religious studies departments. Unfortunately, scandal and controversy sell while orthodoxy comes across as boring "self-reproduction". It would be funny to imagine a conversation between those who say that orthodoxy is unoriginal and the early Christians who were up against the philosophical and religious trends of their time with the idea that God could actually become incarnate and die! Unoriginal? Hardly.

On a lighter note, Aidan Kavanagh's essay on the relationship between scriptural interpretation and worship is very needed and useful. Following the maxim `The rule of prayer is the rule of faith," he argues that "if the Bible needs reclaiming in the must follow that the Church's worship must be reclaimed as well. To push the thesis further I suggest that liturgical dysfunction may well be a major reason for biblical dysfunction in the church" (132).

The general theme of this book, so odd and unintellectual to some, is that the Bible is actually properly understood in the context of the Church, for whom it was written. Is this so wrong? Last time I checked, St. Paul didn't write his letters to a draft committee before sending them off to Thessalonica or Philippi.

To get a good feel for the motives and Psudo-scholarship involved in the Jesus Seminar, read Johnson's "The Real Jesus". N. T. Wright has tons of good corrective material in this regard as well. For Spong enthusiasts, I suggest a reading of "Can A Bishop Be Wrong?".


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