Whose Community? Which Interpretation?
In this volume, renowned philosopher Merold Westphal introduces current philosophical thinking related to interpreting the Bible. Recognizing that no theology is completely free of philosophical "contamination," he engages and mines contemporary hermeneutical theory in service of the church. After providing...
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In this volume, renowned philosopher Merold Westphal introduces current philosophical thinking related to interpreting the Bible. Recognizing that no theology is completely free of philosophical "contamination," he engages and mines contemporary hermeneutical theory in service of the church.
After providing a historical overview of contemporary theories of interpretation, Westphal addresses postmodern hermeneutical theory, arguing that the relativity embraced there is not the same as the relativism in which "anything goes." Rather, Westphal encourages us to embrace the proliferation of interpretations based on different perspectives as a way to get at the richness of the biblical text.
^About the series: The Church and Postmodern Culture series features high-profile theorists in continental philosophy and contemporary theology writing for a broad, nonspecialist audience interested in the impact of postmodern theory on the faith and practice of the church.
"In this beautiful little book, Merold Westphal brings to bear on the interpretation of Scripture his life-long interest in hermeneutics. With his customary clarity of analysis and style, the author debunks the common equation of interpretation with relativism, showing theologians, pastors, and laypeople what the church can learn from philosophical hermeneutics about reading and performing God's word. Besides showing how 'Athens can be helpful to Jerusalem,' this book provides an excellent introduction to Gadamer's hermeneutics and to the most-central issues and thinkers surrounding interpretation theory, including the important aspects of community and politics. This book is a gift not only to the church but also to anyone looking for a clear and thoughtful introduction to contemporary interpretation theory."--Jens Zimmermann, professor of English and Canada Research Chair for Interpretation, Religion, and Culture, Trinity Western University"Westphal deftly navigates between hermeneutical despair and hermeneutical arrogance to arrive at a hermeneutic that affirms the vital importance of interpretation and yet insists that Scripture itself truly speaks. The result is not only a judicious and correct theory of interpretation but also a striking demonstration of what such a humble and respectful hermeneutic looks like in practice."--Bruce Ellis Benson, professor and chair of the philosophy department, Wheaton College"Merold Westphal is a clear, insightful, and astute interpreter of philosophers for Christian understanding and of Christianity for philosophical understanding. A faithful and learned churchman, Westphal here mines his deep philosophical learning but wears it lightly, enabling beginners to access important insights while inviting others to probe significant issues. This book deserves a wide readership."--L. Gregory Jones, dean of the divinity school and professor of theology, Duke UniversityPraise for the series:"The proposed series is not just a good idea; it is actually essential. If mission, liturgy, and pastoral care are to be effective today, then churches need a better understanding of so-called postmodern culture as something to be reckoned with and sometimes resisted. Increasingly, there is an educated interest in religion, but there is also a need to be well-informed about postmodern thought and its very complex relation both to postmodern culture (to which it is often actually hostile) and to religion. Again the need is for a critical appreciation--not dismissal and not empty adulation. This new series aims to provide this in an accessible manner. I am convinced that the main ideas of postmodernism are actually not as 'difficult' as people suppose and that a clear and simple presentation of them actually assists wider cultural discussion. An additional purpose of the series is to introduce to a wider audience theologies that are already trying critically to assimilate the postmodern turn. Since some of these, for example Radical Orthodoxy, are intensely focused on the importance of 'church,' it is crucial that this occur. Although it is already happening, it needs to crystallize. This new series may be just the thing to bring it about."--John Milbank, University of Nottingham
Merold Westphal (Ph.D., Yale University) is distinguished professor of philosophy at Fordham University in Bronx, New York, where he has taught for more than twenty years. His many publications include Postmodern Philosophy and Christian Thought; Overcoming Onto-Theology; God, Guilt, and Death: An Existential Phenomenology of Religion and most recently Whose Community? Which Interpretation?: Philosophical Hermeneutics for the Church.
- 1. Hermeneutics 101: No Interpretation Needed?<br>2. Hermeneutics 102: A Little Historical Background<br>3. Against Romantic Hermeneutics: Away From Psychologism<br>4. Objectivism And Authorial Privilege<br>5. Revoking Authorial Privilege<br>6. Rehabilitating Tradition<br>7. On Not Clinging To The Prejudice Against Prejudice<br>8. Art As The Site Of Truth Beyond Method<br>9. Performance, Application, Conversation<br>10. Conversation And The Liberal-communitarian Debate<br>11. The Church As Conversation<br>12. Transcendence, Revelation, And Community<br>index