• Christian Theology and the Bible is a section of the Society of Biblical Literature. Our task is to explore the intersection between the disciplines of Christian Theology and Biblical Studies. Does or can such an intersection exist? What then could be or would be theological exegesis? What is its relation to religious communities, the history of interpretation, historical theology, history of confession and doctrine, so-called Higher Criticism, etc.?
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Oliver O’Donovan, “The Reading Church: Scriptural Authority in Practice”

Many of you might find interesting O’Donovan’s lecture given at St. Mary Islington, 27 April 2009, at the launch of his book A Conversation Waiting to Begin: The Churches and the Gay Controversy (SCM Press, 2009; originally published 2008 in the US as Church in Crisis: The Gay Controversy and the Anglican Communion by Cascade Books). Here’s a snippet to whet your appetite:

That said, the reading of Scripture is a collective enterprise, a task of the whole communion of saints, in which every generation participates.   Together with the Biblical authors we may read their past readers, and if we take the canonical text seriously as the fulfilling of the law, we shall not imagine that good reading could be set in partisan opposition to them.   All serious reading of the canonical text has in view the catholic horizon.  It is not because the church of the past bequeathed us a different text from that which it inherited, but because it shares a text with us, that we can read in hopeful anticipation that the insights of one generation and another will complement each other.   Good interpretation catches the echo of the text as it bounces off different surfaces.   So the readings of the past are a proper test of our readings, challenging us to demonstrate our care, good faith and self-abnegating attention.   And that, too, the Reformers knew very well.


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