At the moment we are especially interested in how this paradigm deals with the dimension of transcendence. The simplest answer is that the method encourages either antagonism or neutrality toward the presence of such a dimension. Altizer, for example, says, “We inherit the historical revolution of the nineteenth centruy, a revolution which stripped all historical events of a transcendent ground” (Thomas J.J., The New Apocalypse, xiv). In the less enthusiastic words of A.E. Loen, the historical process has been “de-divinized,” since the message of the Bible comes to be seen as “determined exclusively by historical factors.” The sequence of historical events is sundered from its metaphysical ground, so that “forgetfulness of the sphere of being robs history of its essence, just as it robs man of his.” (Secularization, 7, 10).
Minear concludes his chapter with the following words of wisdom:
Can exegetes transfer that task to the preacher and the theologian and limit their own work to the business of objective historical description? Should they do this, their decision will reflect their mastery by the paradigm of historical science as well as mastery over it. (pp. 40-41)
The task of contemporary exegetes is to allow Scripture itself to criticize both the assumptions and the methods that are used in its study. They must listen also, of course, to secular historians and to theologians. Success in their task will be possible only through a conviction that the temporal distance between this and earlier centruies is itself bridged by the eternal purpose of God and by the participation of the church in that purpose. But it will also be possible only if there is more effective collaboration between historians and theologians. Even the ideal cooperation among scholars, however, will never lead to reducing God's transcendence to the size of our various conceptual boxes. (49).Oh how not only the academy but also the church needs to hear this!