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Its Purpose and Inner Logic
The Liber Regularum, written by Tyconius in the Fourth Century A.D., was the first system of biblical interpretation proposed by a Latin theologian. Augustine was very interested in this work and included an extraordinary summation of it in his De doctrina christiana. Although this treatment insured the preservation of the work and its lasting fame, Augustine's summary became better known than the original. Pamela Bright's The Book of Rules of Tyconius: Its Purpose and Inner Logic reintroduces this neglected classic of early church literature. Bright asserts that although Augustine was greatly influenced by the Liber Regularum, his philosophical differences caused him to misunderstand its meaning. Bright reexamines the meaning of “prophecy” and “rule” from Tyconius's perspective and reveals that the purpose of the book was not to provide a general guide to scriptural interpretation, but rather a way to interpret apocalyptic texts. She cites Tyconius's intense concern with evil in the church as the genesis of his interest in the apocalypse and subsequently the meaning of the scripture concerning it. Tyconius speaks of the “seven mystical rules” of scripture that with the grace of the Holy Spirit reveal the true meaning of prophecy. If an interpreter follows the “logic” of these rules, the nature of the church as composed by both good and evil membership is revealed. Bright argues that Tyconius was not illogical or incompetent in the work's composition as many critics have claimed but rather that he organized his material in a concentric pattern so that Rule Four, the center of the seven rules, is also the central development of his theory.
Scriptural Authority and Biblical Theology
The purpose of this collection of Brueggemann's essays is to bring to the fore a much more extensive critical engagement on his part with the current discussion about the Old Testament, its character, its authority, its theology, and especially its God.... Readers of these essays who think they may have grasped what Brueggemann has to say about the theology of the Old Testament from reading his magnum opus will find that he is still thinking, still listening, and still helping us understand the scriptures of Israel and the church at an ever deeper level.
In Borderline Exegesis, Leif Vaage presents an alternate approach to biblical interpretation, or exegesis—an approach that bends the boundaries of the traditional North American methodology to analyze the meaning of biblical texts for a wider audience. To accomplish this, Vaage engages in a practice he calls “borderline exegesis.” Adapting anthropological notions of borderlands, borderline exegesis writes biblical scholarship peripherally, unearthing the Bible’s textual and discursive borderlands and allowing biblical texts to be at play with utopian imagination. The book’s main chapters are four case studies that engage in a “divergent reading” of the Book of Job, the Gospel of Matthew, the Epistle of James, and the Book of Revelation. Informed by the author’s time in war-torn Peru, these chapters take on themes that the poor and disenfranchised have historically claimed, themes of social justice, the legitimacy (or lack thereof) of prevailing social practices, and—most importantly—a locus of utopian demand for another possible world. These chapters are held together by the presentation of a greater theoretical framework that provides reflection on the exegetical practices within, and confronts biblical scholars with important questions about the aims of the work they do. Taken as a whole, Vaage seeks to disclose what the professional practice of textual interpretation might become if we refuse the conventional distances between academic practice and lived experience.
The Bible through the Eyes of the Hungry
Important ecclesiastical documents have stressed the urgency of world hunger and put in the foreground its natural and historical causes, from famine to global austerity measures and welfare. These concerns have not always affected the way the biblical texts themselves have been read, however. Here, inspired by calls, from Dorothee Sölle and Kathleen O’Connor, biblical scholars apply a “hermeneutics of hunger” to the Bible, taking readings of texts from the Old and New Testaments alike on the premise that human hunger and want are urgent concerns that rightly shape the work of interpretation. Too often, however, as the authors show, biblical texts—like Jesus’ well known words that humans do not live “by bread alone”—have been used to marginalize such concerns within religious communities. Their essays here explore the dynamics of hunger and its causation in ancient Israel and the Greco-Roman world and challenge readers to take seriously the centrality of hunger concerns in the Bible.
Essays on the Election of Israel in Honor of Jon D. Levenson
The topic of the election of Israel is one of the most controversial and difficult subjects in the entire Bible. Modern readers wonder why God would favor one specific people and why Israel in particular was chosen. One of the most important and theologically incisive voices on this topic has been that of Jon D. Levenson. His careful, wide-ranging scholarship on the Hebrew Bible and its theological reuse in later Judaic and Christian sources has influenced a generation of Jewish and Christian thinkers. This focused volume seeks to bring to a wide audience the ongoing rich theological dialogue on the election of Israel. Writing from a variety of disciplines and perspectives, the authors—Jews, Catholics, and Protestants—contribute thought-provoking essays spanning fields including the Hebrew Bible, apocryphal and pseudepigraphic literature, New Testament, rabbinics, the history of Christian exegesis, and modern theology. The resulting book not only engages the lifelong work of Jon D. Levenson but also sheds new light on a topic of great import to Judaism and Christianity and to the ongoing dialogue between these faith traditions.
A New Perspective on James and Jude
The Catholic Epistles and Apostolic Tradition asks two questions: Can the Catholic Epistles from James to Jude be fruitfully examined in relation to each other, without contrasting them with the Pauline Epistles? And, if so, will we learn something new about them and early Christianity? The essayists here answer “yes” and “yes,” offering provocative perspectives on James, the Johannine epistles, the Petrine epistles, and Jude.
Additional contributors are Ernst Baasland (Church of Norway), Lutz Doering (University of London—King’s College), Reinhard Felmeier (University of Göttingen), Jörg Frey (University of Munich), Scott J. Hafemann (Gordon-Conwell Seminary), Patrick J. Hartin (Gonzaga University), John S. Kloppenborg (University of Toronto), Matthias Konradt (University of Berne), David R. Nienhuis (Seattle Pacific University), and John Painter (Charles Sturt University).
Explorations in Feminist Interpretation
Changing Horizons is the second of two volumes highlighting the ways in which Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza’s work constructs a critical feminist theory and praxis of liberation, in relation to the biblical text and its legacy, and in relation to the theological and ecclesial setting of today. In these essays collected from her extraordinary career, Schüssler Fiorenza attempts to free both biblical studies and theology from disciplinary constraints and assumptions that have allowed them to acquiesce and even perpetuate forms of oppression—from racism and poverty to colonialism and gender equality.
While Schüssler Fiorenza’s feminist critical approach begins with the experience of women, that experience is appropriated through the lens of critical theory and a critical understanding of social and religious oppressions. It is, further, political in its aim to dethrone kyriarchal structures and foment genuinely egalitarian community in church and society.
Bonaventure's Commentary on Ecclesiastes may be over 750 years old, but it will still be somewhat new under the sun to most modern commentators. Since Bonaventure is commenting on the Vulgate, the editors helpfully provide an English translation of this in the Introduction....Bonaventure's commentary was both original and very influential in the Middle Ages; it deserves to be more familiar to us today. --Michael D. Guinan, OFM, Franciscan School of Theology