"Older biblical criticism was often practised by scholars who did have a high commitment to the inspiration and authority of Scripture. But they thought the proper way to study it was first to analyse it critically in the ways I have described [source/form/redactive criticism] , and only then to move on to questions of its religious significance. This was true of Catholic and Protestant biblical scholars alike. The newer movement denies that this division of labour is desirable, or even possible. It argues that Christians have a commitment to these texts, and ought not to pretend to neutrality even as a scholarly procedure. The religious claim of Scripture should never be ‘bracketed out’ for the purposes of academic study." John Barton, via Oxford University PressI thought this quote sums up the tension I've been mulling over between biblical and theological exegesis again. It highlights the cleave I feel in my own brain.
-On the one hand I am committed to an historical, academic scrutinization of the text. I like to understand the text as closely as possible in regards to it intended meaning and function.I suppose the starting point must be that the theology of the Christian faith community has always been that scripture enjoys a privileged position in informing our theology, but it makes me wonder if theology, in general, is largely speculative. And so I return to Barth, I guess.
-On the other, I am convinced that in my post Lyotardian world, I cannot extricate myself from the web of influences that have made me the composite I am, and recognize that my theology shapes all my interpretation. The faith community in large part determines the theology interpreted.