Sunday, August 13, 2006

Justification by Doubt

Ben Witherington has some good thinking in his post: Justification by Doubt. I wish I had read this ages ago. It reminds me also of a choice quote from William Baker in his article on Jacobean Christology where he writes:

“instead of treating the text as an accumulation of sterile facts and sifting through them to rational, theological conclusions, we should treat the text as we would a friend whom we love and respect. In doing so, we listen carefully to everything it wants to say before dissecting its terms… It means asking the text if our interpretation is an appropriate estimate of its words because we love our friend so much we don’t desire to knowingly misrepresent her... To read the text at distance, or with so-called healthy, academic scepticism without also reading it as a message from a caring friend is to misread it and truncate our theological calling.”

Baker, W. R. “Christology in the Epistle of James” EQ 74:1 (2002) 47-57, pg. 49

So often, if one does not embrace a hermeneutic of suspicion, one is summarily disqualified as an able exegete or historian of early Christianity. Well, such was my experience at Auckland University. Is there any way to reverse this tide of destructive deconstruction? Does faith provide an air of optimism regarding study of ancient texts?
Think on these things...

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