Friday, 13 March 2009

Brueggemann on "canonical interpretation"

Canonical interpretation never gives an absolute grid for interpretation. It only permits us to find a reading through which we can be faithful. There is no eternal interpretation, so single "meaning." There is only timeless literature and timeful readings, and these together comprise canonical interpretation.[*]
I wonder how Childs' concept of the Holy Spirit, the coercion of the text, and the significance of the regula fidei fit into this?

[*] W. Brueggemann, "Canonization and Contextualization," in Interpretation and Obedience. From Faithful Reading to Faithful Living (Minneapolis, 1991), 119-142; here, 131.


wiserblog said...

Interesting quote. I find your study of Childs and Brueegemann's criticism to be very informative. Keep blogging.

Phil Sumpter said...

Thank you very much. Will do.

John Anderson said...

I have a tremendous soft-spot for Brueggemann. His scholarship, to me, is harshly honest, and he seeks to make it relevant for contemporary faith. I admire that tremendously, especially given the picture of God he sees emerging from the Hebrew Bible (which is quite similar to the image of God I see as well).

I trust he has commented elsewhere in one of his numerous works about the questions you raise.

Phil Sumpter said...

Hi John,

I'm always interested to meets fans of Brueggemann. My relationship to him has, well, gone down hill over the past few years. I think a major impact on me was reading the work of Brevard Childs and seeing how 1) Brueggemann's approach is - in my humble opinion - inadequate on various levels (and inconsistent, see. Levinson's article - though feel free to disagree ) and 2) the way he interacts with Childs (as I've posted numerous times here) I often get the feeling that he simply wants to misunderstand him in order to dismiss him all the more easily. I guess there may be a slight "oedipal" element in all this too ... I was a major Brueggemann fan a few years back and threw myself into his theological lap, so to speak. The results have not been as salutary as the theological "fathership" Childs has offered. But I do agree with you that he is very interesting to read.

As for his being able to answer my question, it was kind of rhetorical. I'm not aware of him talking anywhere about the role of the Spirit in his works (but then I have a short memory, so please do correct me!).

Thanks for popping by!