Engaging the Word: The New Testament and the Christian Believer

Engaging the Word: The New Testament and the Christian Believer

by Jaime Clark-Soles

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Overview

Most Christians are unaware of the doctrinal debates taking place within the religious academic community. When they are aware of these discussions, they may consider them irrelevant or even harmful to Christian practice. Jaime Clark- Soles invites seminarians, seminary faculty, and church leaders to find common ground by considering the various debates, the reasons they persist, the implications of each, and how they pertain to Christian identity and faith within the larger contemporary culture. Includes study questions.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780664231149
Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press
Publication date: 11/17/2010
Pages: 154
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Jaime Clark-Solesis Professor of New Testament and Altshuler Distinguished Teaching Professor at Perkins School of Theology. She speaks and preaches frequently in churches and contributes to various online resources, including workingpreacher.org. She is the author of several books, includingReading John for Dear Life: A Spiritual Walk with the Fourth GospelandEngaging the Word: The New Testament and the Christian Believer. She serves on the editorial board of theJournal of Religion and Disability. As an ordained Baptist minister, she has served in both parish and hospice settings.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

1 Packaging the Word of God in America Today 1

Hyperspecific Features 2

Translations 2

The Bible Plus: Study Notes, Life Application, and Other Supplementary Materials 3

Individual Expert Interpreters 5

Groups of "Expert" Interpreters 6

Modernist Interpretive Strategies 8

Canon and Scriptural Authority 10

Conclusion 11

2 Different Ways of Reading: Promises and Pitfalls 13

Premodern Approaches 15

Promises and Pitfalls of Premodern Interpretation 16

Modernist Approaches 16

Promises and Pitfalls of Modernist Approaches 23

Postmodern Approaches 25

Emergent Churches as a Postmodern Case Study 26

Promises and Pitfalls of Postmodern Approaches 32

Study Questions 33

3 Four Gospels: Problem or Gift? 35

To Harmonize or Not to Harmonize? 35

To Harmonize 36

The Facts about Mary Magdalene (According to the Bible) 37

Mary Magdalene in Matthew 37

Mary Magdalene in Mark 37

Mary Magdalene in Luke 37

Mary Magdalene in John 38

Mary Magdalene: An Anointing Prostitute? NOT! 39

The Anointings 39

Anointing in Matthew 39

Anointing in Mark 40

Anointing in Luke 40

Anointing in John 40

The Named Marys 41

Marys in Matthew 41

Marys in Mark 41

Marys in Luke 41

Marys in John 42

Seven Last Words from the Cross 43

Not to Harmonize 44

Questions of Genre 45

Story? 46

History? 47

An Exercise: Big Fish 48

Both/And/And/And: Four Senses of Scripture 50

4 The Synoptic Problem 55

Exhibit 1 Jesus' Baptism 55

Exhibit 2 Jesus' Rejection in His Own Hometown 57

Exhibit 3 Jesus' Stilling of the Storm 58

Exhibit 4 Jesus' Walking on the Water 61

Proposed Solutions to the Synoptic Problem 62

Two-Source Hypothesis 62

Griesbach Hypothesis (or the Two-Gospel Hypothesis) 63

The Farrer Hypothesis 64

Form Criticism and Redaction Criticism 64

Summary 65

John, the Maverick Gospel? 67

Important Issues Raised 69

1 I Love to TELL (Not Write) the Story, For Some Have Never Heard (Not Read) 69

2 Q Questions and Critiques 71

3 Dear John 74

Study Questions 75

5 Authorship Issues: The Pauline Trajectory 77

What Did Paul Write? 78

Eschatology 78

Jewish-Christian Relations in Paul 81

Gender Issues 83

Church Offices 86

Questions Raised Thus Far 87

1 Why Might Someone Write in Paul's Name? Isn't That Dishonest? 87

2 If Paul Didn't Write These Texts, Who Did? 88

3 Is It Important to Ponder Whether Paul Wrote Them or Not? 88

4 If Paul Didn't Write Them, Do They Count as Less Authoritative than Paul's Own Writings? 89

Formation of the Christian Canon 89

From Talk to Text 90

Use 92

Apostolicity 92

"Rule of Faith" (Regula Fidei) 92

Canon and Scriptural Authority 93

When We Say that the Bible Is Authoritative, What Do We Mean? 97

What about Other Books of the Bible? 98

Study Questions 101

6 The Historical Jesus Debate 103

The First Quest 105

Jesus: Apocalyptic or Not? 107

The New Quest 108

The Third Quest 109

The Jesus Seminar 109

Academic Considerations 112

Theological Considerations 112

E. P. Sanders 113

John Dominic Crossan 114

John P. Meier 116

Gerd Theissen 116

Marcus Borg 117

Summary 118

Puzzlements 118

Where Are the Missing Voices? 118

Where Is the Gospel of John? 119

Recurring Issues 119

Questions, Hackles, and Warnings Raised by the Quests 120

1 Does the Historical Jesus Really Matter for Christian Faith? 120

2 "Buddy Jesus": The Domestication of the Savior of the World 121

3 Resist the Tabloids: Choose the Narrow Gate and/or Ask Scholars to Widen It 121

4 Does W(hat) W(ould) J(esus) D(o) Matter? 122

5 Continuity/Discontinuity 122

6 Jesus' Self-Understanding 122

7 Capacious Dialogue 123

8 History and Theology 123

Christology 125

Eschatology 125

Study Questions 126

7 The Politics of Biblical Interpretation 127

Feminist Biblical Interpretation: A Tale of Two Eliz(s)abeths 130

Queer Commentary 133

Race and Ethnicity 133

Postcolonialism 134

Disability Theory and Biblical Interpretation 135

Summary 137

An Exercise in Ideology Criticism 137

The Residence of Meaning(s): Authors, Texts, Readers 138

Authors? 138

Texts? 138

Readers and Reading Communities? 139

You, the Reader(s) 139

Hermeneutical Self-Inventory 140

A Canon within a Canon? 143

Sample Exercise: Matthew 15:21-28 144

Power and Accountability in Biblical Interpretation 147

Scripture Index 149

Subject Index 151

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