Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Liturgy and Exegesis

Halden from Inhabitatio Dei has written an interesting post entitled Reclaiming Christ's Time, in which he looks at the significance of practising the church's liturgical calendar for Christian ethical living, mission, and identity-formation. He claims that

The Christian liturgical year embodies a way of ordering time which is distinctively shaped by the Christian narrative. ... Through a narrative-Christological ordering the celebrations and festivities of its people, the church constructed a powerful mode of ecclesial formation that orients its members toward an explicitly theological and ecclesial understanding of their identity and the practice of everyday life.
This idea of situating ourselves in God's time has implications for how we should read our Bibles. I am once again brought back to that incredible theological exegete Christopher Seitz. In the preface to his book Figured Out: Typology and Providence in Christian Scripture, he makes the following comments:

"The loss of figural reading is not the loss of an exegetical technique. It is the loss of location in time under God. Certain forms of allegorical reading, it has been claimed, are ahistorical and must be cast out of the church's academic (or ecclesial) reading of the Bible. Ironically, however, those readings most interested in historical reference are the same ones that cannot make any accounting of the church's place in time and so resort to homiletical analogies of the most spiritualizing and moralizing sort in order to let the Bible have some sort of say after all the historical heavy lifting is over. And one might well question whether all spiritual reading was as temporally disinterested as modern historically minded folk have thought. At issue is likely a different order of temporality, not a spiritual-versus-historical frame of reference. ...
... My only prayer is that Christ's body will be "figured in" to his glorious body and that the scriptures would illumine him in his threefold mystery and give the church a place in time again."
(2001: viii)

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