The Practices and Principles that Shape our Engagement with Scripture
The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are foundational for the Christian faith, both from the standpoint of doctrine and practice. It is not surprising, therefore, that they have been subjected to every sort of dispute and debate: how did they come about? How trustworthy are they? What are their limits (which books are in Scripture and which books are out)? How consistent are they? How is one to interpret them? And so on.
Answers to these questions may mark one as belonging to this or that division of Christianity (Protestant or Catholic), or as being liberal or conservative, academic or pietistic. But these labels do little to help with the actual task of navigating what faithful interpretation of the Scriptures should look like.
This session does not seek to settle these divisive questions in a single direction once and for all. Rather, I seek to bring out 1) certain dynamics that are inescapable in the interpretation of Scripture, 2) some tools that have become neglected but that have been considered to be of great use by faithful readers of Scripture in the past, and 3) the attitude that ought above all to characterize our approach to Scripture if that approach is going to be what I am calling “faithful,” by which I mean true to the claim that the text we are reading is, for us, sacred text. Along the way, I will offer some guidance for how to think about the thorny problems of the origins and transmission of the text, the development of the canon, and internal textual difficulties.
Join me for deep look at some of the practices and principles that can and do shape how we read Scripture.
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