Five Things Theologians Wish Biblical Scholars Knew
The disciplines of theology and biblical studies should serve each other, and they should serve both the church and the academy together. But the relationship between them is often marked by misunderstandings, methodological differences, and cross-discipline tension.
Theologian Hans Boersma here highlights five things he wishes biblical scholars knew about theology. In a companion volume, biblical scholar Scot McKnight reflects on five things he wishes theologians knew about biblical studies.
With an irenic spirit as well as honesty about differences that remain, in these books Boersma and McKnight seek to foster understanding between their disciplines so they might once again serve hand in hand.
"Boersma invites us to consider the relationship between theology and biblical studies by taking us on a tour of the inner workings of his discipline. He helps us understand how theology views the Bible as a witness to all things being reconciled in our Lord Jesus Christ, a book saturated in metaphysical presuppositions, governed by the providence of God, which we interpret as his church, in anticipation of our final end: the contemplation of God. This book and its companion are must-reads for those pursuing theological or biblical studies—a clear and winsome invitation to step beyond artificial but strongly held divisions in seminaries and universities today."
"I was trained in a method of biblical scholarship that insisted that as long as one employed the methodologies of historical-critical scrutiny of the Bible, one could arrive at the determinate meaning of the biblical text. But what if the overriding property of the Bible is that the risen Christ elects to speak through these texts? Hans Boersma here explores how that fundamental theological conviction makes all the difference. His case is largely convincing to this biblical scholar, and I hope it will be widely considered among my colleagues in the biblical studies guild."
"I am blessed to have been trained in institutions and by people who decried any sharp divisions between biblical studies and theology, yet I respected the distinct contributions of both. Boersma's book gives words to this sentiment. Each chapter reminds biblical scholars of broad commitments they likely share, but ones their discipline makes easy to ignore. Boersma grounds a call to increased appreciation and common mission in the aim of all theology, namely respecting the sacramental character of Scripture and its role in pointing all who hear it to the worship of God."
"With apologies to Shakespeare, we have to admit the impediments to the marriage of true minds before we can reconcile them. Communication lies at the heart of healthy relationships, and Boersma does a good job of sharing what's on his theological mind to his biblical scholar counterpart. My prayer is that this exchange will lead not to another battle for the Bible (Why do the theological disciplines rage?) but, rather, to a closer working relationship between biblical scholars and theologians. For exegesis and theology are joined at the hip, and a dislocated hip only cripples the body of Christ."
Foreword by Scot McKnight
1. No Christ, No Scripture
2. No Plato, No Scripture
3. No Providence, No Scripture
4. No Church, No Scripture
5. No Heaven, No Scripture