writing things down…

Archive for April, 2009

Reading List 04/28/2009

Inspired by Robin, but not nearly so ambitious, I thought I would take stock of what’s on my current reading list.

Harvey, Barry. Can These Bones Live?: A Catholic Baptist Engagement with Ecclesiology, Hermeneutics, and Social Theory. Grand Rapids, Mich: Brazos Press, 2008.

Gorman, Michael J. Apostle of the Crucified Lord: A Theological Introduction to Paul and His Letters. Grand Rapids, Mich: Eerdmans, 2004.

Harink, Douglas Karel. Paul among the Postliberals: Pauline Theology beyond Christendom and Modernity. Grand Rapids, Mich: Brazos Press, 2003.

Nelsen, Jane, Cheryl Erwin, and Roslyn Duffy. Positive Discipline: The First Three Years : from Infant to Toddler– Laying the Foundation for Raising a Capable, Confident Child. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2007.

Eagleton, Terry. Literary Theory: An Introduction. 2nd edition. Oxford: Blackwell, 2003.

Gorman, Michael J. Inhabiting the Cruciform God: Kenosis, Justification, and Theosis in Paul’s Narrative Soteriology. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2009.

Scripture: A Bibliography

I find everybody has an opinion about how Scripture ought to be interpreted, but very few actually discuss what it is that Scripture is.

I’m interested in compiling a bibliography on works that get at the question, “What is Scripture?”

Here are a few titles to seed the list. What else needs to go on it?

Allert, Craig D. A High View of Scripture?: The Authority of the Bible and the Formation of the New Testament Canon. Evangelical Ressourcement. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2007.

Brown, William P. Engaging Biblical Authority: Perspectives on the Bible As Scripture. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2007.

Goldingay, John. Models for Scripture. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1994.

Green, Joel B. Seized by Truth: Reading the Bible As Scripture. Nashville: Abingdon, 2007.

Webster, John. Holy Scripture: A Dogmatic Sketch. Current Issues in Theology 1. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

Wright, N. T. The Last Word: Beyond the Bible Wars to a New Understanding of the Authority of Scripture. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 2005.

Things Recently Published

My Review of I Was a Stranger: A Christian Theology of Hospitality, by Arthur Sutherland, is now available in the May issue of Biblical Theology Bulletin 39:2 (requires subscription or $ for online viewing).

Also, a short essay entitled, “Theological Interpretation: Some Traits, a Key, and a List,” is available (Catalyst: An Evangelical Resource for United Methodist Seminarians, Volume 35, Number 4, April, 2009). You can see a slightly modified version on the Christian Theology and the Bible blog. The post at the CTB blog is also the first essay post on the new blog that I mentioned in an earlier post.


Richard Briggs has recently published a review of my book in the Heythrop Journal (50:1).  Needless to say, Briggs did not think to well of the book.  Since I am new to this, reading a highly critical review kind of hurt at first. I should expect some criticism. In fact I know that there are many criticisms to be made. Knowing this does not make it any easier to see those criticisms in print. And, I suppose, it would be pretty shallow of me to try to respond to every criticism made.  Briggs is spot on with a good bit of what he calls into question; some things, though, I would want to defend. But, I will not do that here.

He does raise the issue of “how to go on and actually practise theological interpretation,” saying that exploring a text to demonstrate how my approach to theological interpretation would look would have made my arguments stronger. This is not the first time I’ve heard this criticism. My adviser, Don Hagner, made a similar point when the project was at the dissertation phase. At the time I avoided such an exercise because I was ready to be done. Since then, however, I’ve reflected more on the suggestion, and I’ve come to the conclusion that trying to show my approach to theological interpretation in action is impossible. I don’t believe anyone can demonstrate theological interpretation in full. That is an implicit point in my argument. Theological interpretation, to my mind, is a constellation of practices performed by the Christian community for which the biblical texts are sacred texts. I agree we ought to get on with interpreting the text, but I don’t think any one exercise will capture what it is I am trying to make theological interpretation out to be. Some interpretations contribute better to the conversation than others. I could have possibly offered a contribution, but any attempt to demonstrate my approach would inevitably fall short.

I’m still feeling the sting somewhat. I’ll get over it eventually.

(By the way, Angus Paddison offers a shorter, more neutral review in Expository Times [120: 7], and as I noted earlier R. W. L. Moberly reviews the book in the Journal of Theological Studies.)

Historical Criticism and Personal Commitment

Historical criticism did not develop merely as an intellectual project. Rather, it emerged, with its appeals to reason and a shared human past, as an interpretive framework thought to be capable of uniting humanity, overcoming religious divisions, and advancing an enterprise in which all confessional commitments were treated equally – because all commitments were equally excluded. In this way it merely facilitated the relocation of personal commitment: from belief in the creeds of the Church to belief in the critical canons of the academy.

– Michael C. Legaspi

“What Ever Happened to Historical Criticism?” Journal of Religion & Society 9 (2007)

Happy Birthday, Strunk & White; Down with Strunk & White

So I won’t be spending the month of April toasting 50 years of the overopinionated and underinformed little book that put so many people in this unhappy state of grammatical angst.

Geoffrey K. Pullum

Christian Theology and the Bible

I’ve been actively involved in the re-opening of the blog for the Christian Theology and the Bible (CTB) section of the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL).  Right now it has posts with information about the section and other related conferences dealing with the issues of the Bible and Christian theology.  Eventually we plan to have regular posts by various CTB members and like-minded scholars. Check it out and keep an eye on it for more activity in the future.