Thursday, March 13, 2008

Book Thoughts: Reading Scripture with the Church

I haven't done a book review in a while, so I thought I'd share some thoughts with you about a book I've just finished, Reading Scripture with the Church. The book is a collection of Essays on Biblical Theology by four Different authors: A.K.A. Adam, Stephen E. Fowl, Kevin J. Vanhoozer, and Francis Watson.

I found the each of the essays intriguing, though Vanhoozer's essay on using Philemon as a framework for theological reading takes a good while to eventually get to the point. Here are some things I found appreciative in the book:

  • Adam's idea that Scripture is a "signifying presence" for the Church in worship. Adam's point is that the Scripture reveals the roles our lives should emulate (or avoid, as the case may be).
  • Fowl gave me a new appreciation for Aquinas, and gave me some new insight into why the Catholic traditions are able to deal with a plurality of Biblical interpretations without leading to fracturing the way Protestants do.
  • Despite Vanhoozer's slow beginnings (prolegomena in an essay is OK, just try to keep it brief), I throughly enjoyed the way he used the "theodrama" of Philemon to show that theological reading can be used to make Scripture applicable beyond typical historical-critical questions (like, "Why does Paul seem to support the institution of slavery?")
  • I enjoyed Watson's discussion on the canonical context for the four Gospels. I especially liked the way he used the Eucharist as a point of declination between the canonical and non-canonical Gospels.
I was kind of disappointed with the "responses" at the end of the book, I think it would have worked better to have a transcript of a discussion between the participants after they read each of the essays. On the other hand, there is much to chew on in this book - which I find to be a nice contribution to Biblical Theology.

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