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writing things down…

Tough Stuff

I am finding it rather difficult, given my busy-ness at work and my proclivity to procrastinate, to do the following:

  1. Teach Ephesians to an adult ed Sunday School class in four weeks.  I am two weeks into a four-week adult ed class at church.  I am leading them in a “close” reading of Ephesians.   We have managed to make it to 2:10, or through what I consider to be the ground clearing work the author (Paul?) does before moving into the ethical and social implications of the latter half of the book.  The difficulty in teaching the class is two-fold: 1) I am short on prep time; and 2) This is likely the most densely packed book of the entire NT.  So, inevitably, even while trying to read closely, we will skirt some important issues or I will neglect to mention some significant piece.  The class has been engaging and they seem to like the idea of simply reading the biblical text in more than a cursory fashion.
  2. Write a review of a book that is comprised of four essays and four responses to the essays by the essayists themselves.  In other words, I am finding it difficult to write a short review of Reading Scripture with the Church: Toward a Hermeneutic for Theological Interpretation by A.K.M. Adam, Stephen Fowl, Kevin J. Vanhoozer, and Francis Watson.  The difficulty here lies in the fact that the book as a whole does not have a thesis/argument/point.  Instead, each essayist has an argument to make about theological hermeneutics.  They do share some common purposes, but the commonalities are too broad to say that the book has a singular thrust.  Thus, I am really writing four reviews of rather short essays.  It is difficult (for me at least) to write reviews of short works without simply repeating what the essays say.  I would like to offer some critical comments, and I will; but, so much space is taken up with summaries that the review could run longer than it should.  And, to make matters more difficult, the essayists, in a sense, offer their own reviews of each others work in the responses.  So, how do I summarize the short essays and make critical comments without repeating both the essays and responses?  I’m inclined to take each contributor on their own.  That is, I am inclined to speak to Fowl, for instance, taking into account his essay and his response.  I would hope to characterize his position with reference to both.  Anyway, enough whining.  I just never thought the review of such a short book would be so taxing.

I do like the fact that I am reading scripture with the church while at the same time writing a review about reading scripture with the church.  I’ll end with a line from the preface of the book:

The theological sense of the Bible pervades the operations by which we endeavor to arrive at meaning, as it also pervades our efforts to articulate the meaning we discern.

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1 Comment»

  Pat McCullough wrote @

I really wish I could join with your Sunday School series. Unfortunately, my own busyness, especially at church, holds me back. It’s exciting to me that you’re working through a book of the Bible with PMC. I’m hoping to do a three week Sunday School series in May about how we approach the Bible. We also got that Community Bible Study going on. Lots of Bible stuff happening at PMC!


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