Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Reading Texts, Seeking Wisdom: Scripture and Theology

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Reading Texts, Seeking Wisdom: Scripture and Theology

Article excerpt

Reading Texts, Seeking Wisdom: Scripture and Theology. Edited by David F. Ford and Graham Stanton. London: SCM Press; Grand Rapids, Mich.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2003. x + 287 pp. £19.99 / $28.00 (paper).

A splendid constellation of scholars, including the editors, John Webster, Rowan Williams, James Dunn, Walter Moberly, Martin Hengel, Christopher Rowland, and others first presented these essays as a series of lectures and seminars marking the 500th anniversary in 2002 of the establishment of the Lady Margaret Chair at the University of Cambridge. Drawing together theologians and biblical scholars, these essays all reflect on the interplay between Scripture and theology, through the lens of the theme of the search for wisdom. Biblical passages or books that receive extensive or thoughtful treatment include Proverbs 8, the Christological hymn from Colossians 1, Jonah, Deuteronomy, the Song of Songs, the Apocalypse, and the "Solomonic" books. Paired articles explore a particular text or question through the perspectives of scholars with differing métiers.

Among the most stimulating essays are Daniel Hardy's exploration of the notion of the density of Scripture and the intensity of the encounter with God produced in the task of theological interpretation, and Graham Stanton s study of the Pauline phrase "the law of Christ" within the New Testament as well as through the second century C.E. and in the Reformation period. Morna Hookers examination of Colossians 1:15-20 offers a taut presentation of how Christ, not the Scriptures themselves, forms the central core of Paul's hermeneutic and the vulnerability this implies for all faithful processes of interpretation. By contrast, Markus Bockmuhl's offering, while interesting on the subject of the "implied disciple of scripture," reads Genesis 2-3 in a way that seems naively unaware of the capacity of these particular texts for multi-layered and deconstructive reading.

Diana Lipton's pellucid contribution considers the deuteronomic treatment of the Exodus commandment to exterminate Amalek as an instance of inner-biblical rereading with an ethical objective. Equally fascinating is Denys Turner's examination of Bernard of Clairvaux's handling of the Song of Songs in relation to other key medieval figures, in which Turner dismantles a host of assumptions about how the sensuality of the biblical book plays out through monastic interpreters. …

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