The Hermeneutics of Doctrine

The Hermeneutics of Doctrine

The Hermeneutics of Doctrine

The Hermeneutics of Doctrine


Anthony C. Thiselton is professor of Christian theology at the University of Nottingham, United Kingdom.


Alongside my teaching and research in five British universities I have been privileged to serve as Examining Chaplain or as Canon Theologian to the bishops of three English dioceses. This has involved my interviewing those recently ordained, those about to be ordained, and those seeking to test a call to ministry or to ministerial training.

In this context I have regularly asked clergy or ordinands, on behalf of the bishops, about their attitudes to the use of the Bible, to doctrine, to worshpose a question. Might not a more significant interaction between hermeneutics and doctrine play some part in rescuing doctrine from its marginalized function and abstraction from life, and deliver it from its supposed status as mere theory?

The most striking example of this theoretical conception of the nature of doctrine emerged from an interview with a former Roman Catholic priest who had married and was seeking to explore possible Anglican ordination. He clearly viewed doctrine as what he had “done” to meet the requirements for ordination, but since then he had left it well alone.

Lest it risk discourtesy to cite an example from a Christian tradition other . . .

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