• 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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Fowl on History and Historical Criticism, pt. 7

This is the seventh in an eight-part series of excerpts from Stephen E. Fowl’s forthcoming volume in the Cascade Companion series. Theological Interpretation of Scripture will be released later this summer by Cascade Books.

Theological Interpretation of ScriptureContents
Introduction: What Sort of a Companion Is This?
One – Scripture: Its Nature and Place in God’s Drama of Salvation
Two – Theological Interpretation and its Relation to Various other Concerns
Three – Practices and Habits of Theological Interpretation
Four – Prospects and Issues for the Future
Five – Guests at a Party

The series of posts will follow Fowl’s sustained discussion of history and historical criticism in the second chapter. Feel free to comment.

Part one Part two Part three Part four Part five Part six


First, theological interpretation of Scripture never really stopped. Although it was largely exiled from academic biblical studies, Christians have been interpreting Scripture theologically because their identity as Christians compels them to do so. Reading Scripture theologically is first and foremost a practice of the church. It does not depend on the support of academics for its survival. Nevertheless, disciplined, scholarly attention to interpreting Scripture theologically can only benefit the practice within the church. Second, numerous generations of scholars came of age when historical criticism was the dominant form of academic biblical studies. Thus, the interpretive practices and strategies that arise when theological concerns and aims are given priority in Scriptural interpretation fell into desuetude. Moreover, the academic practice of theology was separated from the practice of academic biblical studies. These two disciplines came to jealously guard their autonomy, making it difficult for scholars to try to work in both fields. It has only been in the past two decades that the scholars have started to bridge the gap between theology and biblical studies with the aim of re-invigorating the practice of theological interpretation.


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  1. […] Part one Part two Part three Part four Part five Part six Part seven […]

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