Friday, April 5, 2013

Section 5: The Proper Framework of Scripture

The Self-Donation of God: pg. 5-6:

"Modern liberal biblical scholars have failed to understand this [the unity of Scripture in Christ] and will doubtless protest that this does violence to the original intention of the authors. Of course, extreme versions of Christian exegesis (beginning with Origen and moving on into the Middle Ages) did do violence to the original meaning of the text by burying it under imaginative and often times fanciful Christian allegory.  The problem with all this was not that it attempted to read the Bible as a book about Jesus, but that it understood Jesus incorrectly. Allegorical reading tries to strip away the external meaning to find the Spirit hidden within. It gives us a Docetic Bible, in the same way that Protestant Liberalism gives us a Nestorian Bible. In this framework, the Bible effectively becomes a mere stepping stone to God hidden in his majesty, rather than God hidden in concrete written Word of the Scripture.
The younger Luther recognized this and, beginning with his early commentaries on the Psalms (1513-15) moved away from allegorical exegesis, insisting instead on the primacy of the sensus literalis. Nevertheless, he still interpreted the Psalms as having their ultimate reference in Christ.  Holding these two aspects of the text of Scripture together, Luther grasped what Wolfhart Pannenberg has in our present situation emphasized, that any study of any historical event must occur within an overall framework. In a similar vein, Pannenberg has noted, events take on meaning in light of what they later give rise to.   For example, meaning of the French Revolution can be more acutely realized in light of Soviet and Chinese revolutions than can be recognized merely by studying France in the late eighteenth century.  N. T. Wright has similarly noted that a Roman citizen who heard about the resurrection of Jesus and was unfamiliar with the prophecies of the Hebrew Scriptures would doubtless have regarded him as being something like a Nero Redivivus.  Not interpreting Scripture in light of Christ ultimately leads to the application of an alien framework and context. It represents merely the imposition of a different framework on Scripture, and not a neutral and scientific interpretation of Scripture."

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