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Bibliography: Theological Interpretation

I had a conversation with someone at the North Park Symposium this past week. They are planning to teach a course with a colleague on the theological interpretation of Scripture. He asked if I had any bibliography recommendations. I send him the following email. I’d like to hear what those out in the blogosphere think about the list.

To my mind the most interesting things going on with theological interpretation are those projects that involve groups of people, especially groups of people of faith. Theological interpretation is communitarian and understands the bible to be sacred text, or so I argue in my book, The Bible and the Crisis of Meaning: Debates on the Theological Interpretation of Scripture (T & T Clark, 2007). So, you will notice a good many sources listed below are articles compiled from colloquia, conferences, and other intentional gatherings.

TWELVE COMPILATIONS:
1. Green, Joel and Max Turner, eds. Between Two Horizons: Spanning New Testament Studies and Systematic Theology. Eerdmans, 2000. – I think this book would make a wonderful textbook. Don’t be put off by the focus on NT studies. It raises all of the important issues involved in thinking about interpreting scripture theologically. It was meant to be the ground-clearing exercise before the Two Horizons Commentary Series volumes started rolling out.

2. Davis, Ellen and Richard Hays, eds. The Art of Reading Scripture. Eerdmans, 2003. – from a group that met once a year (I think) at Princeton over several years (can’t remember name of working group); see especially Nine Theses (pp. 1-9)

3. Scripture and Hermeneutics Series. Zondervan, 2000-present. – Volume One, Renewing Biblical Interpretation, is probably the most helpful for general issues of interpretation of Scripture as Scripture.

4. Ford, David, and Graham Stanton, eds. Reading Texts, Seeking Wisdom: Scripture and Theology. Eerdmans, 2003. – from a dialogue at Cambridge between the biblical studies and theology departments. I think they met periodically over the course of a few years. A participant in these conversations said at the end of the time there still seemed to be an impasse.

5. Ford, David, and C.C. Pecknold, eds. The Promise of Scriptural Reasoning. Blackwell, 2006. – from the Society of Scriptural Reasoning, a dialogue of interpreters from the three Abrahamic religions. For more see Ochs, Peter. “The Society of Scriptural Reasoning: The Rules of Scriptural Reasoning” The Journal of Scriptural Reasoning 2 (May 2002), online.

6. Bacote, Vincent, Laura C. Miguelez, and Dennis L. Ockholm, eds. Evangelicals and Scripture: Tradition, Authority and Hermeneutics. IVP, 2004. – Evangelicals trying to do what these other books are doing. Not very satisfying in my opinion. As good evangelicals, they are, as the subtitle indicates, hung up on authority.

7. The Journal of Religion 76:2, “The Bible and Christian Theology,” (April 1996) – collection of essays from a conference at U of Chicago Divinity School in 1995.

8. Vanhoozer, Kevin, ed. Dictionary for the Theological Interpretation of the Bible. Baker Academic, 2005.

9. Francis Watson, ed. The Open Text: New Directions for Biblical Studies. SCM Press, 1993.

10. Lundin, Roger, ed. Disciplining Hermeneutics: Interpretation in a Christian Perspective. Eerdmans, 1997.

11 Fowl, Stephen, ed. The Theological Interpretation of Scripture: Classic and Contemporary Readings. Blackwell, 1997.

12. Of course several volumes of Ex Auditu are good, especially the one dealing with methodology.

TWELVE BOOKS BY INDIVIDUALS:
1. Stephen Fowl, Engaging Scripture.

2 & 3. Kevin Vanhoozer, Is There Meaning in This Text? and First Theology.

4 & 5. Francis Watson, Text, Church and World, and Text and Truth.

6. Stephen Fowl and Gregory Jones, Reading in Communion.

7. Werner Jeanrond, Text and Interpretation as Categories of Theological Thinking.

8. Roger Lundin, Clarence Walhout and Anthony Thiselton, The Promise of Hermeneutics.

9. R. W. L. Moberly, The Bible, Theology, and Faith: A Study of Abraham and Jesus.

10. Sandra Schneiders, The Revelatory Text: Interpreting the New Testament as Sacred Scripture, 2nd ed.

11. Markus Bockmuehl, Seeing the Word: Refocusing New Testament Study.

12. Anthony Thiselton, New Horizons.

SIX ARTICLES (most of the best articles/chapters are in the two group of books above):
1. Ayres, Lewis, and Stephen Fowl, “(Mis)Reading the Face of God: The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church,” Theological Studies 60:3 (Sept. 1999).

2. Childs, Brevard. “Toward Recovering Theological Exegesis,” Pro Ecclesia 6 (1997).

3. Green, Joel B. “Modernity, History and the Theological Interpretation of the Bible,” Scottish Journal of Theology 54:1 (2001).

4. Lim, J. T. K. “Theological Hermeneutics: A Reading Strategy,” Asia Journal of Theology 15:1 (2001).

5. Soulen, R. K. “The Believer and the Historian: Theological Interpretation and Historical Investigation,” Interpretation 57:2 (2003).

6. Wood, Charles M. “The Task of Theological Hermeneutics,” Perkins Journal 33 (1980).

Opinions? Additions? Subtractions?

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6 Comments»

  John Lyons wrote @

What no Brueggemann? Given the definition of Theological Exegesis presupposed by your list, I would probably add Philip Esler on New Testament Theology. And I would propose John Goldingay as the evangelical representative.

More startling though is the way your list kind of excludes the liberation theologians (not quite sure what to make of Lim’s inclusion since I am not familiar with the article). But I suspect this is more of a problem with the definition of Theological Exegesis than with your collection – it does often seem to be the work of white eurocentric males. Mmmm, interesting.

  Ched wrote @

I found Reading Scripture With the Church: Toward a Hermeneutic for Theological Interpretation with A.K.M. Adam, Stephen Fowl, Kevin Vanhoozer, and Francis Watson helpful as well. They each respond to the other three essays, though, Vanhoozer’s essay and response are the centerpiece of the book.

[…] Chris over at Katagrapho, who completed at Ph.D. dissertation on Theological Interpretation, has provided a very helpful […]

  Chris wrote @

John – I am embarrassed to say that I have not read much Brueggemann on this issue, though I am aware of his work. What book or article in particular do you have in mind? I am only listing here those things that specifically address theological interpretation/hermeneutics/exegesis. And for that reason too, my list does not include Esler’s NTT or some of the liberation theologians. I didn’t want to broaden the scope too much. My list would/could/should have been much longer had I expanded works on theological interpretation to include NTT, liberation theology, etc. Do you have suggestions of liberation theologies that could be listed here, if the scope were expanded a bit?

Ched – I’ve written a review of Adam, Fowl, Vanhoozer, and Watson. It is in the July issue of Reviews in Religion & Theology. However, I did not include it here because I do not think Fowl or Vanhoozer say anything different than what they say in the works I did list of theirs. Watson’s essay seemed out of place in the volume. It was not on topic, to my mind. I do list a couple of other Watson books that are more on the specific topic at hand. I probably should have listed Adam’s Faithful Interpretation.

Thanks to you both. I’d love to hear other suggestions. It would be nice if this post and the comments could become a repository of theological interpretation resources.

  Barry wrote @

I am hearing great things about D. Spinks’ “The Bible and the Crisis of Meaning.” Why is that not on the list?

  Chris wrote @

Barry, thanks. I mentioned my book in the prefatory paragraph. It didn’t make the list…well, because I didn’t want to toot my own horn too much, plus it prices itself out for most newly interested readers on the subject. By the way, looking forward to seeing you in less than two weeks!


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