Recovering the Feast of Scripture – an Excerpt from A Manifesto for Theological Interpretation

The following is an excerpt from A Manifesto for Theological Interpretation, edited by Craig Bartholomew and Heath Thomas.

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Theological interpretation, which we define broadly as interpretation of the Bible for the church, is that most ancient of hermeneutics. Surprisingly and wonderfully, it is also that most recent approach to the Bible witnessed in the renaissance of theological interpretation today.

Cover ArtIn fact, it is not only that most ancient hermeneutic but also the dominant one during the last twenty centuries. It was only in the past 250 years, with the rise of historical criticism, that theological interpretation became increasingly marginalized. In reaction, we have witnessed a resurgence of theological readings of the Bible in the late twentieth century and on into today.

We welcome this renaissance as a gift, a springtime of biblical interpretation. But how are we to receive this gift, and how are we to contribute toward its maturing? The emergent theological interpretation is a “broad church,” which often raises as many questions as it does answers. Our Manifesto is an attempt to identify the key issues in theological interpretation and to propose fruitful ways forward. It is not the first word, nor is it the last word, but we hope it is a good and helpful word.

It is written by a diverse group of biblical scholars, theologians, missiologists, and pastors from a range of denominations and universities and seminaries. We celebrate this diversity and welcome the interaction between church, seminary, and academy. We also hope that this work spurs other women and men toward deeper and richer interpretation of God’s Word for the church.

Scripture invites us to a feast, to the great feast of the Lamb. For all its insights and rigor, too much modern interpretation has prevented us from hearing God’s address in Scripture and feasting at his table through his Word. At its best, theological interpretation offers us a way to recover the feast of Scripture without for a moment sacrificing the insights of modern scholarship.

©2016 by Craig G. Bartholomew and Heath A. Thomas. Published by Baker Academic. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

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For more information on A Manifesto for Theological Interpretation, click here.

New Release: A Manifesto for Theological Interpretation

Cover ArtRecent decades have witnessed a renaissance of theological interpretation. Craig Bartholomew and Heath Thomas bring together a team of specialists to articulate a multifaceted vision for returning rigorous biblical interpretation to the context of the church.

Developed by the internationally recognized Scripture and Hermeneutics Seminar, this book is designed to bring clarity and unity to the enterprise of theological interpretation. It positively integrates multiple approaches to interpreting the Bible, combining academic rigor with pastoral sensitivity for professors, students, and church leaders.

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“Interest in theological interpretation of Scripture has occasioned several explanatory introductions, commentaries on both Testaments, a dictionary, a journal, and now a manifesto. Accompanying the twelve-point manifesto are an equal number of essays that exposit and further explore each article. This multiauthor work may now be the best starting place from which to understand the rise, nature, methods, and aims of this ancient-future proposal for reading the Bible in and for the church in order to hear God’s address to his people.”—Kevin J. Vanhoozer, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

“This book marks an unexpected development—a significant advance—in the theological interpretation of Scripture. Here we find a wide range of scholars, from across the ecumenical spectrum, each demonstrating how Scripture can and should be read and understood in the context of the church, the canon, and the great tradition. Such a canonical and ecclesial approach exhibits considerable explanatory power. The authors present the book as a manifesto. May it soon become a movement.”—Scott Hahn, Mundelein Seminary

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Craig G. Bartholomew (PhD, University of Bristol) is the H. Evan Runner Professor of Philosophy at Redeemer University College in Ancaster, Ontario. He founded the internationally recognized Scripture and Hermeneutics Seminar and is the author of several books.

Heath A. Thomas (PhD, University of Gloucestershire) is dean of the Herschel H. Hobbs College of Theology and Ministry and professor of Old Testament at Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, Oklahoma. He serves as the chair of the Scripture and Hermeneutics Seminar.

For more information on A Manifesto for Theological Interpretation, click here.