as Postcritical Theology
PETER OCHS, SERIES COEDITOR
David Weiss Halivni makes the priestly and prophetic scribe Ezra the hero of his Revelation Restored: As redactor and teacher of the Torah she-bichtav, "the written Torah," to the people Israel after the First Destruction, Ezra rescues his people from ignorance of Torah and thus separation from God. We find no better way to introduce Westview Press's new book series, "Radical Traditions: Theology in a Postcritical Key." For Ezra the Scribe is not only pivotal in the history of retrieving and renewing ancient Israelite religious history; he stands also as a representative figure for the series of scribal sages whose restorative work links the founding traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam to the work of postcritical theologians today. In the shadow of Shoah (the Hebrew term for "Holocaust," "utter destruction and desolation") and after the demise of the imperialistic discourses of western secularism, the task of postcritical theologians is at once to restore and to reform the foundational discourses of the Abrahamite traditions--the sacred Scriptures and the primordial commentaries that gave them life in the founding communities and in the receiving communities that serve the One God. The projected goal of postcritical theology is to retrieve, correct, and restore these foundational discourses as first principles, not only of our communityspecific theologies, but also of western academic inquiry.
As a restorative inquiry, postcritical theology recognizes, to be sure, that these discourses are also self-reforming. As a reformatory inquiry, however, postcritical theology also acknowledges that the humanistic projects of the Renaissance and Enlightenment were not mere errors. They were stimulated by legitimate doubts about the capacities of late medieval or scholastic practices to meet the challenges of new industrial, scientific, and political realities. The uncompromising character of humanistic, or "Cartesian," doubt is in fact an index of the scriptural traditions' own capacity for infi-