Here's the response I posted on his blog:
I can understand why bringing dogmatics into this can be confusing. For most OT scholars, dogmaticians are perceived as intruders whose broader construals of theological reality compromise the objectivity of their analysis of the parts. And in one sense this can be true. I wasn't suggesting that we only have dogmaticians in the list, only that the answer to the question of how to handle the diversity requires interaction with their craft. OT scholars help sketch out the diversity and explain it. But the issue is how the relate the parts. Can an OT scholar, working in a secular paradigm, really explain to me the relation between Wisdom literature, prophecy and law, other than in purely chronological terms? He can talk of cultural influences, relate the parts diachronically etc., but when it comes to wrestling with the theological substance of the message, I think we run into difficulties. Especially if you are a confessing Christian. The Christian claim is that the OT is a direct witness to Christ, not historical background information for the NT or a primitive stage in an unfolding religious evolution. This means that for the Christian questions of the nature of referentiality and the nature of the “substance” of the text cannot be ignored. This is made even more complicated by the fact that we're caught in a dialectial tension between the dogmatic claims of the NT and church tradition concerning Christ and the fact that these claims are made in terms of an OT witness that has remained untouched by the church. It has been accepted in all its Jewishness, without being redacted or changed to fit a more Christological agenda (by redactionally inserting “Jesus” into Isaiah 53, for example).
In short, given this larger construal of reality, reading the letter only and not getting to the spirit is not an option for Christian exegesis, and arguably not an option for any interpretation of a text. Dilthey argued long ago, and I think it still stands in one form or another, that erklären (explanation) only deals with the surface of a text, whereas verstehen digs deeper.
As my response shows, I've already moved out of the bounds of the OT in order to try and explain the nature of the issue. Childs' approach, as opposed to Sanders or Brueggemann, is that the Christian confession of the OT witness to Christ is not only true, it cannot be for ever bracketed out for the sake of an illusiory objectivity. This bracketing is important at one stage, but only temporarily, and then only as part of a dialectic, the goal of which is not to point at various parts, but to wrestle with the true substance of the parts.
Another dimension of this complex issue is “the economy of God.” What is the true context of Scripture? What are the hermeneutical implications? If a later tradent reconfigures an earlier layer according to a “different” referent (a more profound understanding of its substance) than is it right to follow Brueggemann et al and just leave the “contradition” standing, or do we following the kerygmatic intentionality of the editor and see how his work functions as a guide to the texts' substance (á la Childs, Seitz, Sheppard, Karl Barth, etc.)? Surely a concept of “progressive revelation” helps here.
Dogmatics is the construal of the whole, and so it is necessary for fitting the parts together. When Brueggemann says
[T]he biblical material itself ... refuses to be reduced or domesticated into a settled coherence. This refusal may not be simply a literary one but a theological one, pertaining to its central Subject (quoted here),he's making a dogmatic statement and not just a historical, literary, analytical one. But if he had a different dogmatic presupposition, perhaps he would handle the differences differently (see the debate between him and Childs in SJT, which I commented on in the first three posts here).
Finally, to return to the three options Chris gives us:
the first fails because it go against the kerygmatic thrust of the text by focussing, not on that which the text is talking about, but on the epistemological conditions of the receiving community. It's like reading a news report, not so that you can find out what happened (i.e. the purpose of the thing) but so that you can understand the rhetorical strategy of the news reader and the ways that message is refracted through cultural context of those watching the show. Of course these things are important to understand, but an exclusive focus on this means that God-- the subject of the “news report”--gets lost in the background. Brueggemann reads a theocentric text anthropocentrically.
Second, Goldingay is facing in the right direction. He just needs a bit more theoretical ballast to explain why this is the direction to be going in. This quote taken on its own makes the whole project look rather lame, like someone embarrassedly piecing together bits of someone else's broken pottery and trying to make the best of it.
Third, Tomlin is doing I what suggested above: reading the parts in light of the whole. As long as by “Jesus Christ” he doesn't mean the New Testament construal over against the Old, but rather both equally and dialectically in relation to the one Christ who transcends them both. A trinitarian hermeneutic may be more appropriate here (see J. Barr's comments).
I've argued for this recently in my post on the need for ontological categories in biblical exegesis.
I also think my post on the theological crisis of biblical criticism is relevant here.
Update: Calvin, of the newly established The Floppy Hat, has had a few thoughts on N.T. Wright's call for the necessity of the relation between theology and biblical studies. Wright's approach is diffrerent to that of Childs. Given the significance of Wright, if I find time I may follow Calvin's lead and see where it takes me.