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I like this book because it has helped me immensely on why I should continue reading my Bible.
The central thesis of this collection is to argue for the need to find a biblical hermeneutics that will contribute to theological understanding–this being the supreme purpose of the whole enterprise of Christian biblical studies. This might not sound worth mentioning to millions of Christians around the world especially to this part of the globe. But according to the authors, there have been a long parting of the ways between biblical studies and the quest for religious truth (ie theology). Biblical scholars can have no religious commitment and the result of scholarly works can have no meaning for the life of the church. This is the problem the authors want to fix. The solution offered is termed “theological hermeneutics”. The best essay of all is “Tradition, Authority and a Christian Approach to the Bible as Scripture” by Trevor Hart. He concludes that a proper Christian reading is a “regulated reading” as roughly regulated by some version of the rule of faith. He condenses much of the thoughts of the church fathers and the Reformers plus a lot of his excellent integrative argument. It is excellent that his writing is so readable and accessible to a layperson like me! And his unashamedly orthodox-yet-scholarly discussion has solved many of the questions I have with the claims of postmodernist biblical interpretation. So is his argument that the presence of biblical authors’ communicative intent must be presumed even though we should always keep a humble attitude recognizing the provisional nature of all our readings. (Man, I wouldn’t be able to express myself in such terminologies if not for Hart’s essay!)
As a Christian who likes to read the Bible as holy scripture that has a claim on me and not just as another text, this book and especially Hart’s essay gives me much food for thought.
I recommend this book to all Christians who want to read their Bible for spiritual nourishment without losing sight on critical thoughts. But to thoroughly enjoy the book, one needs to have a certain background knowledge on the biblical academic scene.