Friday, November 04, 2005

My Research Paper - Title and Abstract

my paper is nearly finished and so im going to slowly post it in parts. Please make comments of all varieties. I'm keen to hear what you all think about the topic and my approach.

Reading Scripture Afresh: Story and the Christian Faith [1]

In this paper I offer an explorative suggestion to the question of what should we use the bible for and how do we do so? I propose that the question needs to be asked afresh due to the short falls and problems with contemporary readings and uses of the Bible that begin with the assumption of “biblical authority”. I argue that our use of the Bible must cohere both with its literary character and the nature of the faith that it presents. At the heart of this faith is a coherent story that the scriptures tell. This story is both grand in scope—stretching from the creation of all things to their renewal—and particular in focus—recording the history of God and his people as he outworks his purposes through them. This over-arching story is the frame within which all biblical documents are contextualized, giving the Bible a ‘narrative shape’ and pointing towards its function. We are to make the Bible’s over-arching story the ‘controlling story’ within our worldview, and from our place within this story, creatively appropriate the scriptures according to their context within the story.

[1] The title betrays several aspects of this thesis. Firstly, reading scripture afresh suggests that here I propose a new method and purpose for reading Scripture. Secondly, the presence of Christian faith in the sub-title shows that this fresh reading is a reading for the Christian, from within the Christian faith, that is, working with the Protestant canon. Thirdly, story highlights the importance of the category within this new approach.Now I don’t mean to say that Catholics or Eastern Orthodox are not Christian, only that my audience make use of the New Testament as well as the Hebrew Bible.
Neither do I mean to claim that what I am proposeing is revolutionary and has not been thought of before. What I have sought to do is educate myself on the whole story/worldview aproach and perhaps I have added some "objectivity" to the approach by grounding it in the nature of the Bible and its faith. I'll let you all be the judge.


Chris Tilling said...

Just a couple of immediate questions: Do you think the notion of 'authority' is flawed? Is not talk of a 'controlling story' amounting to the same thing or is it 'proof-texting' biblical authority that is the problem? If so, how might a narrative-authority look different in practice from the application of traditional authority notions?
Looks really inteersting. Good luck!
P.S. I'm sure you know it, but Wright's little book Scripture and the Authority of God will be useful.

eddie said...

In regards to authority, it depends on what we are claiming by saying that the Bible is authoritative. If we are simply saying that it must have the role of shaping our lives then theres no problem. But as I argue, authority means more than this for most, there are particular strategies for how it is to be authorititive that are thought to be inherent in it.

Both Richard Bauckham and Tom Wright propose a narrative authority very similar to what I propose, but they retain the word authority.

But I discuss this in my essay and I will post the first section today.

in regards to Wrights book, yes, but I haven't got access to a copy and I cant afford to buy one :(

metalepsis said...

Have you looked at Stanley Hauerwas’, ‘The Christian Difference, Or Surviving Postmodernism’ this is published in a number of places, and argues for the narrative shaping of our communities. Or Stephen Fowl’s, ‘Learning to Narrate Our Lives in Christ’ in Theological Exegesis: Essays in Honour of Brevard Childs. Or even the discussion in Colossians Remixed, by Keesmaat and Walsh.

Look forward to your paper!


eddie said...

I have yet to read any of these, but thanx for making me aware of them.

Narrative has experienced a revival as of late and im really just jumping on the band wagon, although trying not to do so uncritically. What is really happening, I believe, is that we are recapturing something of the nature of the bible and the Christian faith that has been lost.