H.-G. Gadamer concludes his essay on “The Universality of the Hermeneutical Problem” by commenting on the importance of language, with an interestingly theological turn. Gadamer suggests,
The … building up of our own world in language persists whenever we want to say something to each other. The result is the actual relationship of men to each other…. Genuine speaking, which has something to say and hence does not give prearranged signals, but rather seeks words through which one reaches the other person, is the universal human task – but it is a special task for the theologian, to whom is commissioned the saying-further (Weitersagen) of a message that stands written. (Philosophical Hermeneutics, 17)
To be sure, Christian Scripture and the broader Christian tradition can and do speak for themselves. But, it is doubtless specially incumbent upon those with vocations in theology, biblical studies, preaching, and other Christian education areas to see to the passing on of this testimony and to its interpretation in various contemporary milieux.
Recently released under Wipf and Stock’sPickwick imprint is Explorations in Interdisciplinary Reading: Theological, Exegetical, and Reception-historical Perspectives, edited by Robbie Castleman, Darian Lockett, and Stephen Presley. The volume includes essays assembled from the Institute for Biblical Research’s recently concluded study group on Biblical Theology, Hermeneutics, and Theological Disciplines. A key among the essays in the volume is the interplay between Scripture as situated in its own historical contexts and its continuing reception as a canonical whole.
The volume’s ten essays are:
Andrew J. Schmutzer, “The Suﬀering of God: Love in Willing Vulnerability”
J. Richard Middleton, “A Psalm against David? A Canonical Reading of Psalm 51 as a Critique of David’s Inadequate Repentance in 2 Samuel 12”
J. David Stark, “Rewriting Torah Obedience in Romans for the Church”
Darian Lockett, “‘Necessary but not Suffcient’: The Role of History in the Interpretation of James as Christian Scripture”
D. Jeﬀrey Bingham, “Against Historicism: The Rule of Faith, Scripture, and Baptismal Historiography in Second-Century Lyons”
Stephen O. Presley, “From Catechesis to Exegesis: The Hermeneutical
Shaping of Catechetical Formation in Irenaeus of Lyons”
Lissa M. Wray Beal, “Land Entry and Possession in Origen’s Homilies on Joshua: Deep Reading for the Christian Life”
Craig Blaising, “Integrating Systematic and Biblical Theology: Creation as a Test Case”
Susan I. Bubbers, “A Guiding Principle and Question-based Strategy for Integrating Biblical Systematic and Practical Disciplines”
Gregory S. MaGee, “Biblical Theology in the Service of Ecumenism: Eschatology as a Case Study”
At the Logos Academic Blog, Charles Helmer offers five areas of suggestions to help ease readers’ paths into Karl Barth’s Church Dogmatics. As an overarching suggestion, Helmer recommends,
Armed with the following tips and a healthy dose of Spirit-inspired courage, the theologian can do no better than to sit down with one of Barth’s volumes, crack it open, and get to the hard yet rewarding work of reading.