"This is a book on theological hermeneutics. It is a plea for being hermeneutical about theology and for being theological about hermeneutics. It is an argument for treating the questions of God, Scripture and hermeneutics as one problem. This one problem defines what I call 'first theology.' " (from the Preface)
In thirteen chapters, Kevin Vanhoozer explores various dimensions of doing first theology and illuminates not only how we can talk about God but how we can begin with the Word of God and act on the basis of that Word. Blazing a pathway for recovering the unity of biblical studies and theological reflection, he addresses the challenges presented by the contemporary so-called postmodern situation, especially deconstructionism. Not only does a way of doing God-centered biblical interpretation come to light through Vanhoozer's explorations, but the triune identity of a God who is communicative, loving and sovereign also comes into focus.
This is a book for students, pastors and teachers who have an interest in the character of God, the nature of Scripture, Christian theology, our approach to hermeneutics and how they are all necessarily interrelated to the glory of God.
"Operating under the premise of 'first theology' that our doctrine of God cannot be divorced from our understanding of Scripture, Kevin Vanhoozer brings together what modernism and postmodernism (not to mention some evangelicals) have rent asunder: imagination and historical-textual criticism, God's communicative performance and our missional response, the Bible that is God's Word and the Bible that becomes God's Word. He does this while graciously interacting with a wide range of theologians, philosophers and communication theorists. As a result, Kevin rescues the Bible from reductionist approaches that diminish the mighty and saving speech-act of the living, loving Lord."
"For those who want a lucid, challenging and deeply thoughtful presentation of theology at its best, this is the book. Vanhoozer is a must-read for all who are searching for meaning in the current theological landscape."
Preface: First Thoughts
1. First Theology: Meditations in a Postmodern Toolshed
Part One: God
2. Does the Trinity Belong in a Theology of Religions? On Angling in the Rubicon the "Identity" of God
3. The Love of God: Its Place, Meaning Function in Systematic Theology
4. Effectual Call or Causal Effect? Summons, Sovereignty Supervenient Grace
Part Two: Scripture
5. God's Mighty Speech Acts: The Doctrine of Scripture Today
6. From Speech Acts to Scripture Acts: The Covenant of Discourse the Discourse of the Covenant
Part Three: Hermeneutics
7. The Spirit of Understanding: Special Revelation General Hermeneutics
8. The Reader at the Well: Responding to John 4
9. The Hermeneutics of I-Witness Testimony: John 21:20-24 the Death of the Author
10. Body Piercing, the Natural Sense the Task of Theological Interpretation: A Hermeneutical Homily on John 19:34
11. The World Well Staged? Theology, Culture Hermeneutics
12. The Trials of Truth: Mission, Martyrdom the Epistemology of the Cross
Index of Names
Index of Subjects