Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Figured Out: Typology and Providence in Christian Scripture

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Figured Out: Typology and Providence in Christian Scripture

Article excerpt

Figured Out: Typology and Providence in Christian Scripture. By Christopher R. Seitz. Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox Press, 2001. xii + 228 pp. $24.95 (paper).

This is a compilation of twelve essays which variously explore and extend many of the important themes addressed in the author's earlier acclaimed Word Without End: The Old Testament as Abiding Theological Witness (reviewed in ATR 83.1, pp. 191-193). The ambitious intent is to contest impoverished historicist interpretations of the biblical text, while also countering this with exegetical examples which collectively commend Christian Scripture as essentially a two-testament witness to the triune God. The overall outcome is both persuasive and provocative, with compelling and challenging arguments giving rise to residual questions which invite and merit further dialogue and development.

Those unfamiliar with Seitz's work might profitably begin by attending carefully to the programmatic "Part One: Introduction" and summary "Part Four: Conclusion," which together address the aim and outline of the intervening chapters. "Part Two: Christian Scripture, Figured Out" comprises five studies seeking to illustrate and critique the debilitating impact of modern reductionistic historical-critical readings in both the academy and the church, which have forfeited--or "figured out"-a historic and broader understanding of the nature and interpretation of Scripture. These essays ought to be read in the order presented. Chapters 1 and 2 examine certain problems symptomatic of a wider theological and methodological malaise within modern biblical scholarship: for example, Scripture becoming (mere) religion, and traditio-historical analyses displacing the Old Testament/New Testament canonical witness. The ensuing chapters localize the ecclesial ill effects of such trends by addressing the issue of scriptural and doctrinal authority within the Anglican Communion, most notably by reference to Lambeth 1998 and "The Virginia Report."

"Part Three: Two Testaments, One Scripture, One God," is a series of seven essays seeking to model another way forward, by "implying" the "sort of reading which the Church, in academic, theological, ethical, and liturgical expressions, needs . …

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