who overvalue the tradition at the expense of what is good in modern thought and those whose tendency is the reverse, would stagnate. If liberal theology lacks theological interpretations of scripture, it will simply use the Bible less. Its own Christian identity will then be jeopardized.
Whether a change of focus will rejuvenate Christian theological interpretation remains to be seen. The conclusion to be reached is simply that it can. But quite apart from this, the biblical material itself supports a more literary approach. The Bible is literature, and some of it (especially parts of the Hebrew Bible) great literature. The literary weight of the Bible has also been increased by some classic translations, notably the Luther Bible and the Authorized Version, perhaps even by some modern translations. Theological preferences have long favoured historical research and hindered the development of a secular literary criticism of the Bible. It was the recent relaxation of these theological pressures that encouraged the change, but theologians have begun to recognize that it also has considerable potential for their own purposes.
The bibliography to Chapter 1 is germane to this chapter. Those to Chapters 5 and 7 are also relevant. In addition, the following books are recommended:
BARR, J., Holy Scripture: Canon, Authority, Criticism ( Oxford and New York, 1983).
BARTLETT, D. L., The Shape of Scriptural Authority ( Philadelphia, 1983).
BOERS, H., What is New Testament Theology? ( Philadelphia, 1979).
COLLINS, A. Y., Crisis and Catharsis: The Power of the Apocalypse ( Philadelphia, 1984).
FIORENZA, E. S., Bread Not Stone: The Challenge of Feminist Biblical Interpretation ( Boston, 1984).
FREI, H. W., The Identity of Jesus Christ: The Hermeneutical Basis of Dogmatic Theology ( Philadelphia, 1975).