Thursday, June 23, 2005
Nine Theses
Last week I finished what is easily my favorite book I've read so far in seminary: The Art of Reading Scripture. This was for my Theological Hermeneutics clas. For four years members of the Center for Theological Inquiry at Princeton met, under the name "The Scripture Project." They developed nine theses in order to present a foundation of biblical interpretation, and the book entails a collection of essays that further develop and unpack these propositions.

There are a handful of reasons this book resonated something with me. Maybe part is the Christian circles I've experienced that propound that Christian education and the "Spirit-filled life" are mutually exclusive, leading me to apologize for and defend my attendance to the theological academy. This book, then, is really smart people talking really smart stuff about how the Bible is for changing our lives and neighborhoods. I like that.

Maybe another reason is how the authors clearly state those previously nebulous and inarticulate thoughts that wander through my brain.

So I liked it. But as LeVar Burton taught me, you don't have to take my word for it.

Here are the Nine Theses, and each really is worthy of its own reflection and post. But then, that's why you should read the book yourself:

1. Scripture truthfully tells the story of God’s action of creating, judging, and saving the world.

2. Scripture is rightly understood in light of the church’s rule of faith as a coherent dramatic narrative.

3. Faithful interpretation of Scripture requires an engagement with the entire narrative: the New Testament cannot be rightly understood apart from the Old, nor can the Old be rightly understood apart from the New.

4. Texts of Scripture do not have a single meaning limited to the intent of the original author. In accord with Jewish and Christian traditions, we affirm that Scripture has multiple complex senses given by God, the author of the whole drama.

5. The four canonical Gospels narrate the truth about Jesus.

6. Faithful interpretation of Scripture invites and presupposes participation in the community brought into being by God’s redemptive action – the church.

7. The saints of the church provide guidance in how to interpret and perform Scripture.

8. Christians need to read the Bible in dialogue with diverse others outside the church.

9. We live in the tension between the “already” and the “not yet” of the kingdom of God; consequently, Scripture calls the church to ongoing discernment, to continually fresh rereadings of the text in light of the Holy Spirit’s ongoing work in the world.

posted by Peter at 12:18 PM
| | permalink |