Psalms as Torah and Other Studies in Theological Interpretation

February 20, 2012 — 5 Comments

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[This post is part of the What Is Theological Interpretation? series]

Recently, Baker Academic has been very gracious in sending me several books. Two of those books, Psalms as Torah and The Character of Christian Scripture are part of an on-going series called Studies in Theological Interpretation. After looking at the other titles, I decided to try and pick up the other books on my own and perhaps review them on here as well.

For you all interested, this what else they’ve got in the series:

Thanks to a good spot on Amazon, our local used bookstore, and an upcoming gift certificate to Westminster’s bookstore, I’ll soon have all of these but the last two. Having read Seitz’s other book in the series, The Character of Christian Scripture over the weekend, and getting Wenham’s book in the mail Friday, I can say I’m pretty stoked about digging into this series.

This is all part of the larger project I’m undertaking about understanding theological interpretation. In another book I’ll have up for review soon, Theological Commentary: Evangelical Perspectives, D. A. Carson is somewhat skeptical of the project (of theological interpretation, not my personal journey to understand it).

Graham Cole, a colleague of Carson at Trinity put together this outline of 4 levels of interpretation:

  1. Understanding the text exegetically within its historical and literary contexts
  2. Understanding the text within the whole of biblical theology (where it fits and what it contributes)
  3. Bringing theological structures in the text into harmony with other texts and their emphases
  4. Integrating the teachings of the text into a larger hermeneutical proposal

Commenting on this, Carson says:

Traditional interpreters of Scripture who hold the Bible as the Word of God tend to operate at levels 1 and 2, with the strongest of them making excursions now and then into level 3.

So far, many if not most supporters of TIS (theological interpretation of Scripture) operate at levels 3 and 4…

For what is really needed is work that shows how levels 1, 2, and 3 should be tied together. One should indulge in level 4 only with the greatest of caution, and only after the writer has done a lot of work on the first three levels (p. 207)

My journey on here then is to investigate and see if Carson is right. Because the theological interpretation of Scripture, as a movement, is relatively recent, it wasn’t what I was taught at seminary. I’m interested to see how it differs and whether or not, as Carson concludes, “what is most valuable in TIS (and much is), is not new; what is new in TIS varies from ambiguous to mistaken, depending in part on the theological location of the interpreter.”

I guess we’ll see if this proves to be true!

Nate

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I'm an avid reader, musician, and high school Bible teacher living in central Florida. I have many paperback books and our house smells of rich glade air freshners. If you want to know more, then let's connect!

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

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  2. Theological Interpretation, Justification, Lent, and Death Metal | Marturo - February 25, 2012

    […] Psalms as Torah and Other Studies in Theological Interpretation Thanks to a good spot on Amazon, our local used bookstore, and an upcoming gift certificate to Westminster’s bookstore, I’ll soon have all of these but the last two. Having read Seitz’s other book in the series, The Character of Christian Scripture over the weekend, and getting Wenham’s book in the mail Friday, I can say I’m pretty stoked about digging into this series. […]

  3. Theological Commentary: Evangelical Perspectives | Marturo - March 2, 2012

    […] On a couple of recent occasions, Justin Taylor has highlighted an article by D. A. Carson that is featured in Theological Commentary: Evangelical Perspectives. Thanks to T & T Clark, I received copy of it to review, and I thought I’d tell you about the rest of the book. On Wednesday, Taylor raised the question about the nature of “theological interpretation of Scripture,” something I’m interested in myself (as I’ve mentioned). […]

  4. The Character of Christian Scripture | Marturo - March 7, 2012

    […] Scripture. The print is probably too small in the cover to tell, but this book is part of the Studies in Theological Interpretation and the first I’ve finished to review. Though this book is in this particular series, Seitz […]

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    […] Blogger Nate Claiborne posted on the “Studies in Theological Interpretation” series. […]

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