The Return to Scripture in Judaism and Christianity: Essays in Postcritical Scriptural Interpretation

The Return to Scripture in Judaism and Christianity: Essays in Postcritical Scriptural Interpretation

The Return to Scripture in Judaism and Christianity: Essays in Postcritical Scriptural Interpretation

The Return to Scripture in Judaism and Christianity: Essays in Postcritical Scriptural Interpretation

Synopsis

This volume introduces the work of a group of Jewish and Christian scholars who bring to theology the fruits of both premodern faith and modern reason.

Excerpt

The scholars who have contributed to this volume of essays also inspired it. They are Jewish and Christian thinkers who, without melding their different religious traditions and scholarly methods, have developed complementary responses to what they believe is wrong with modem scholarship in Judaism or Christianity. The purpose of this collection is to draw attention to the similarities among these responses and to the possibility that they may contribute to a family of postcritical methods for interpreting the scriptural traditions.

The scholars represented in this collection employ modern methods of critical, scientific inquiry to clarify the language, the historical contexts and the didactic messages of the biblical traditions of religious and moral instruction. They do not, however, find these methods sufficient. They argue, in various ways, that the biblical traditions communicate to their practitioners some rules of action that cannot be deciphered within the terms set by the canons of critical reason that emerged in the European renaissance and enlightenment. This does not mean, however, that the biblical traditions are in this respect irrational, for among their unique rules of action are rules for interpreting the traditions themselves, including the tradition s' primary texts of scriptures and of scriptural commentary. In their efforts to identify these indigenous rules of interpretation, the scholars represented here have begun to articulate rules of reason that expand and transform the modern, critical canons. In some ways, these postcritical rules appear postmodern: they emerge out of criticisms of the modern search for sources of individual self-certainty, and they emphasize the communal, dialogic and tex-

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