"There is another recurrent criticism, usually expressed by my Protestant colleagues, that the emphasis on tradition and canon threatens the ultimate authority of God whose will is known through his Word. Did not the recipients if the divine revelation often misunderstand and even obscure the message? I do not doubt for a moment that they did. The canon can make no claim to infallibility. However, a crucial hermeneutical issue is at stake when it is assumed that the time-conditionality of the canonical witness can be theologically "corrected" by means of historical critical reconstructions. Rather, the position being defended is that the canon functions truthfully and authoritatively in all its frailty. A different theological dynamic is at work to guide the community of faith in reflecting critically on God and the world through the canonical tradition. The interaction of the various parts of Scripture often serves to balance, check, and subordinate individual elements. Then again, the language of faith constantly adjusted the semantic level on which texts were read and heard. But ultimately, the appeal to the role of the Holy Spirit both confirms the centrality of the tradition as the vehicle of continuing instruction, and also subordinates the written word to God himself as the source of all truth."
Thursday, 22 May 2008
Childs Responds to Protestant Critics
Childs' phenomenal Introduction to the Old Testament as Scripture received some heavy criticism, including from some of his more Protestant colleagues. Here is his response to their worries, taken from his "Response to Reviewers" in JSOT 1980:55: