Friday, 20 June 2008

Quote of the Day: allegory and relevance

Without a form of allegory that at least allows for analogy, the biblical text can only be an object of archaeological interest.
Frances Young, Biblical Exegesis and the Formation of Christian Culture, 3.


Anonymous said...

Interesting. Give us some context, Phil--is this her own hermeneutic, or her assessment of patristic exegesis?


Phil Sumpter said...

Great to hear from you again Michael. I was hoping you'd pop in again!

I'm afraid I don't have much of a context for Young's quote, I just lifted it out of a paper given by Childs on allegory. At the end of his career, Childs started looking at allegory as a way of finding a way forward for theological exegesis. This in no way contradicted his canonical approach. His main point was that scripture functions for the church as a witness, which means that it's authoritiy and power consists in its ability to point beyond itself to its divine subject matter. Allegory hold that the text is ultimately about more than what it says, it points to a reality outside of it. This is where the connection comes in. I think Seitz does a more thorough job of dealing with the implications of this in his book Figure Out, though I have to say that beyond what I posted on the spiritual sense I'm not too clued up on the subject. I'm about to start reading a book edited by Ephraim Radner/George Sumner called The Rule of Faith: Scripture, Canon and Creed in a Critical Age. Perhaps I'll be able to say more then. I should point out, however, that these thoughts on allegory were significant for Childs, as can be seen in his book The Struggle to read Isaiah as Christian Scripture.