Note, this is a Book Notes (a possible new feature), not a full review which may follow later. The goal of this feature is to give you a brief summary.
Peter W. Gosnell, associate professor of religion at Muskingum University, attempts to examine ethics via the lens of “biblical theology,” where the entirety of the text (the individual books) inside the whole Holy Writ are examined as a final product rather than individual verses or statements (p16; note, the author does not identify his approach as “biblical theology,” but it is clearly recognizable). Further, Scripture is not a monotone voice of a distant narrator, but contains different voices relevant to both time and space. This allows the author to counter what are clearly unethical stances (such as rape victims forced to marry their attackers) with the overarching theme of the progressive revelation of God. The title may throw some people off, especially ethicists who will rightly maintain a lack of ethical vision of Scripture. Gosnell agrees, but does not agree this means ethical teachings can’t be drawn from Scripture. To briefly sum up Gosnell’s approach, “people’s ethics flow from their relationship with God.” (18) His approach, like other biblical theologians, is a teleological approach. Thus, the end redefines the whole. The Ethical Vision of the Bible is divided into 10 chapters focused on the Torah, Proverbs, the Prophets, the Gospels, and Paul. After an introduction to the discussion of ethics, Gosnell begins to discuss various ways of drawing out ethics from the above mentioned areas. For example, his three chapters on the Torah are divided between discussing Order (ch 1), Mercy (ch 2), and Holiness (ch 3) all within a covenant framework. In discussing Paul, he examines Pauline ethics as transformation in practice (ch 9) and results (ch 10). With all of this, his goal is simply, to use Scripture to begin to think ethically. For those interested in the ethics of Scripture (v. Scriptural ethics), this is an ideal book.
There is something to be said about a person who continues to be an active part of a denomination in which they are at odds, especially when the topic is interpretation of Scripture. It must present something of an identity crisis, where you identify as one thing, but your denomination identifies as other and in doing so,identifies you as another. Your goals are not always the same and it will present problems. It will cause you to sometimes drift away from your stated purpose as part of that denomination and perhaps engage in snipe hunts that, while charitable, is not always profitable. Such is the case with Ronald E. Osborn and his latest, Death Before the Fall, Biblical Literalism and the Problem of Animal Suffering.
Osborn identifies with the Seventh Day Adventist Church, a denomination largely rooted in Young Earth Creationism and other forms of biblical literalism, and yet he does not hold to many of the views considered orthodox by the SDA. Because of this, the book takes a meandering path to his ultimate goal, arguing for animal ethics and how this may play into our vision of both the Fall and subsequent theological drama. Often times, Osborn argues more against biblical literalism than for any position. He accepts, it seems Augustinian approaches to original sin, but at the same time follows the Waltonian response to the six-days creation account. It is confusing and perhaps betraying something of an identity crisis of the author.
Osborn Caribou (Photo credit: IslesPunkFan)
This is not to say the book is not worth reading. Indeed, it is a book directed towards biblical literalists argued the way a biblical literalist would make their case. He even favors the King James Version. Except, the author shows just how theological inconsistent literalism really is — not only with the Holy Text itself, but so too with Tradition and God’s other book, science. It is important to note that while Osborn does employ some modern scholarship (it cannot be missed that John Walton wrote the foreword), he makes his case in easy to follow analogies and examples with an appeal, always, to faith. And, he is not afraid to mix it up and call out the modern day gnostics and deists that make up too much of the biblical literalism community (even if they are unaware of their identification with those ancient heresies).
I cannot fully describe this book as gracious (something Joel Green has in his endorsement). Osborne, by his existence, is polemical. (Any ex-fundamentalist/biblical literalist will understand this). However, he does take some time to try to write measurably and without personal attacks. He is not always successful; however, I could and will argue that sometimes, it is necessary to rough it up a bit.
The book is divided into 14 chapters, between two unequal parts. The first part (9 chapters) deals with biblical literalism while the second (5 chapters) attempts to turn to animal suffering. Each chapter is a nicely contained essay — almost as if each chapter was written as a stand alone portion with a brief segway paragraph added at the end (as an afterthought). In the first part, he takes to task biblical literalists and their own self-imposed, and extra-biblical, hermeneutics. In one important chapter, however, Osborn really lays out the argument against biblical literalism. Chapter 7, “The Gnostic Syndrome, When Literalism Becomes a Heresy” is perhaps one of the most important chapters written in this book, if not the entirety of the apologetic enterprise. My only quibble here is that it is not long enough. It would not take a gigantic editorial imagination to see Osborn taking this chapter and turning it into a rather welcomed work.
The book does suffer from something of an identity crisis, but perhaps so does the author. He is writing more against himself than he is for others, something he has admitted. While this is the definitive weakness of this work (his reasoning, his insights, this theology — they are not lacking in this volume), it does not seriously undermine the thesis of the book. Biblical literalism is a problem. It creates heresies, anxious believers, and mutes the faith of the sincere. Further, literalism does nothing to help us in understanding how we are to treat creation (something, unfortunately, given little attention to in the book and thus sliding in at the end of my review). However, if we take the Scriptures seriously, which is Osborn’s ultimate goal, we can begin to see Creation for what it is.
With the plethora of Christians involved in politics at various levels, with the amount of conversations currently ongoing on social media about the level of political involvement by the Christian, and with the constant need to speak to how we as Christians should be involved, I am convinced we need more dialogue, more conservations amongst ourselves, and angles to examine. In Christian Political Witness, George Kalantzis and Gregory W. Lee assemble a who’s who list of authors and essayists who have, from time to time, tackled many of the issues plaguing this conversation.
The issue of Christians and politics is as varied as the people talking. It may begin with “Should we become involved?” but given the long history of Christendom, it doesn’t end there. Rather, there are issues of what involvement looks like, of what past involvement has done both to society and to the Church as a whole, and even how to define violence. Perhaps this is why we need a book of various essays by various authors based on a mutli-day conference at one of American Evangelicalism premier schools.
American Christians (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Beginning with Stanley Hauerwas, we are introduced to just how much…patience, skill, and nuance is needed to converse about such an important topic. Hauerwas, as he is apt to do, rails about Enlightenment religious capitalism, or the privatization of religion from the public sphere. Here, I struggle immensely. I am an American, born in the Deep South, raised to believe in American Exceptionalism and public prayer, and yet a convert to political liberalism and a firm believer in the separation of Church and State. Hauerwas challenges us to use Barth and to explore the grounding of God in humanity through the Incarnation. Because of this, we must be involved and because of the end of Christian dominance in the West, we are more free to do so. Yet, he doesn’t really give us shape as to what this means.
While nearly all of the essays present something to ponder, there are truly standout essays. Timothy Gombis argues for the political witness in Paul’s letters. I note Gombis’ essay follows Scot McKnight, editor of Jesus is Lord, Caesar is Not (IVP, 2013). Mentally, this made Gombis’ much more impactful. There is also Jennifer M. McBride‘s essay, “Repentance as Political Witness.” Again, I return to my Deep South roots while I explore this essay. Growing up, we bore an unapologetic witness to slavery and the bloodshed of the War Between the States. We still waved the Confederate flag. To apologize, to repent of past actions, was to debase and emasculate ourselves, our families, and our great illustrious forebearers (said in the longest Southern drawl). Yet, McBride challenges me to what real political repentance looks like and how it fits neatly into Christian atonement theology. Combined with Gombis’ essay, I cannot escape the notion that if our Church was more active in public repentance, we may actually be able to challenge our political system.
The conclusion of this book is simply an unworked beginning, as Hauerwas and Jana Marguerite Bennett remind us in their respective essays. While we are given insight and considerations to ponder, we are likewise given roadblocks and treacherous paths to follow. We are reminded that our Christendom is gone but this is sometimes freedom. We are told, albeit ever so roughly, that God and violence are often a misunderstood contradiction we must likewise attempt to figure out. The essays are set well, giving the reader a nice path to follow, but to what end? I know more than I did before reading this book, but now I have so many more questions!
This introduction to the world of biblical ethics walks readers through the ethical teachings of key people and texts within the Bible. Instead of focusing on what the Bible says about various ethical issues, it emphasizes how the different parts of the Bible encourage its readers to think ethically about every issue.
Ethics is not my strong suite.
Ha. I’m kidding. I’ve never done anything wrong ever.
BTW, if you click through to the IVP site, you will see the table of contents and some other details. Good stuff.
All but one of the twelve contributors is a member of the faculty of Wheaton College, easily the most identifiable institution of higher learning associated with modern American evangelicalism. When you see this, it will either worry you or fill you with security. Allow it to do neither. What the contributors have accomplished is not something that pushes one theological agenda, but attempts to answer the tougher questions posed by students, insiders, and outsiders — but with often times tougher answers than expected. Indeed, what is proved here is not just the worth of Wheaton, but the value of the intellectual tradition within American evangelicalism.
The twelve (symbolism?) topics selected for this book include,
What is Christianity? (answered by Timothy Larson)
How Does God Relate to the World? (answered by Gregory W. Lee)
What is Salvation? (answered by Keith L. Johnson)
How Should I Live? (answered by Vincent Bacote)
What is the Christian Hope? (answered by Beth Felker Jones)
I have selected these five, because I feel they give the best overview of the agenda of the book.
In Timothy Larson’s response, he aims to answer the simple question of what is Christianity. He suggests Christianity is not asking about the minimum requirements necessary, but “a commitment to orthodoxy.” (18) He recommends denying “unbelief” but turning to God to “become more truly Christian.” For him, it seems, the commitment to orthodoxy does not allow for reconsiderations and considerations within the Christian community. I find this troubling given the times segments of Christian has changed what it means to be orthodox. But, these are his most distressing viewpoints, his most strict limits. The rest of his chapter takes on the myths of secularization, science v. religion, and what it means to be an evangelical (I am not one, but he is). Larson’s chapter does not condemn openly those who oppose him, but sets out how to act and operate under a commitment to (evangelical) orthodoxy. I would like to suggest he is somehow wrong, but in the end, Christianity is not a religionless faith, but one with orthodox principles, doctrines, and even dogmas that should be adhered to because they inform us of who and what we are as Christians.
Gregory W. Lee suggests that science and faith are not opposed to one another (something of a hidden theme in the book). Sure, I disagree with him and other theologians, about ex nihilio, but by no means should we take him as a Young Earther. Rather, he is simply asserting God created the cosmos and as such, created reason and the laws reason has discovered. By this standard, Lee moves to side with Augustine and others in allowing that strictly wooden interpretations of Scripture are simply dogmatic assumptions that hinder faith more than preserve it. In fact, Lee argues for the allowance of evolution, citing the great minds of Fundamentalism and does so within a solid Evangelical framework. After this he moves into the free will v. determinism debate. Instead of delivering a soft, one-sided after, speaks to and upholds as important the tension between these two sides!
“Salvation is a trinitarian event,” Keith L. Johnson declares (120). I can hear this ringing in my ears, I believe, finding something of the author’s hidden shout still languishing on the pages. It is as loud as the day Johnson first wrote it down and I suspect will continue to echo through the run of this work. I do not intend any hint of hyperbolism or sarcasm. Indeed, Johnson’s article correctly summarizes the Christian salvic experience as one that incorporates all of the persons of the Trinity, even if I find his substitutionary atonement model rather limited.
Chapter 11, “How Should I Live?”, begins by defining what is “the world” and how a proper creation theology can have an impact on living here. Some readers will find Bacote’s understanding here a little stretched but if you read his chapter to the end, it becomes more clear. Even reading his section on politics should help the reader to understand there are different views about the world and our involvement, sometimes arising from the immediate contexts. His solution seems to be to become involved to the point of Scripture. He tackles several topics (military service, political party affiliation) and ends with the same answer, justice. While his take may seem distinctly American, it is better conceived as an examination of the life of a Christian under a democratic state where political participation is a prescribed part of the duty of the citizen.
Finally, Beth Felker Jones speaks to the hope of the Christian. Kingdom now, hell, and the such. This chapter, as you must expect, is filled with several questions and thus seems a bit choppy. However, Jones doesn’t need a lot of space to answer the questions. Some questions, well intentioned, deserves a simple “No.” Others, such as ones on hell get fuller treatment. Indeed, in her treatment of hell and the final judgment, she makes room for the minority voices, suggesting that while she believes with the majority, she is careful to listen to those of us who do not. Plus, she is careful to couch her theology in “Western Christianity,” knowing, I suspect, Eastern Orthodoxy differs from her.
As I said, the answers are rarely simple and soft. More than likely, you will find yourself with more questions, but I do believe that is the hallmark of good theology and good theological professors. While some contributors do gave a matter-of-fact answer, others give answers for your choosing with whispered instructions to tolle lege. And why not? Do we need set-in-stone answers or do we need to teach and to be taught how to think about these tough questions? I’d go with the thinking game that should be theology. Personally, this has raised my level of respect for Wheaton and many of these professors. Overall, a fantastic book for Evangelicals and Mainliners alike, for Americans and even the wayward Canadian.
“My kingdom is not of this world.” Followers of Jesus have been struggling to understand these words ever since he first uttered them—often in sharply contradictory ways. Today the inescapably political nature of Christian witness is widely recognized. But what is the shape of this witness? What should Christian political engagement look like today? The twelve essays in this volume, originally presented at the 2013 Wheaton Theology Conference, present biblical, historical and theological proposals for thinking responsibly about the intersection of church and state in the contemporary cultural situation. Prophetic and pastoral, this book offers a fresh look at a crucial and contested dimension of the Christian life.
Timothy G. Gombis
Jana Marguerite Bennett
William T. Cavanaugh
Peter J. Leithart
Daniel M. Bell Jr.
Jennifer M. McBride
David P. Gushee
Bishop David Gitari
Often times, Christians are told their canon is a development based on politics and developed theology. The canon, we are told, has something to do with Constantine and the Roman Catholic Church. Perhaps, rather, the canon is a product of the Church. These are all external forces creating the canon. Michael J. Kruger wishes to counter this and rather argue for an intrinsic force, springing up from within the texts. He proposes that the canon is not an accident or outside creation, but one carrying the foresight and authority of the New Testament writers.
The book is made up of an introduction, five chapters, and a conclusion. The chapters tackle the definition, origin, writing, authors, and the date of the canon (in that order) to offer an counter to the somewhat established extrinsic model (p23–4). Each chapter is aimed at proving a positive statement. Kruger’s first chapter attempts to show that the definition between canon and scripture are the same. Yet, while he gives definitions for canon, I could not find a definition for Scripture. Given ongoing discussion about the nature of Scripture (inspired? inerrant? infallible?), it would have been most helpful to have Scripture defined from the start. Rather, it seems Kruger is dialoguing with an unknown, or perhaps expectantly passive, partner. This is not the only time he does this.
In chapter 2, “The Origins of Canon”, Kruger attempts to show that Early Christianity itself, rather than a later Christianity neatly situated in a post-Constantinian world, had the necessary seeds from which to grow the canon. While David Duncan’s book, Constantine’s Bible: Politics and the Making of the New Testament, is mentioned twice in the entire book, neither of which in chapter 2, it seems to be Kruger’s dialogue partner for a sizeable portion (along with Lee McDonald’s body of work). So, in chapter 2, Kruger aims at showing that if anything Constantine and later ecclesial authorities merely accepted that which was already established (against the silent dialogue partner). In this chapter he against draws heavily from an evangelical view of Church history, a history where we have well established, and authoritative, apostles.
The next chapter attempts to answer the question of whether or not a written document would have been welcomed by the early Church. He answers this with remarkable skill, such remarkable skill, that if one has issues with other parts of this book, this chapter should save the volume. While I do not agree with Kruger that Christianity “was quite a ‘bookish’ religion from the start” I cannot understand how we can ignore the use of written documents in giving a ground to the early Church. His work here needs to be revisited and enjoyed.
The fourth chapter focused on the authors of the canon. Here, Kruger’s conservativism becomes somewhat distracting. He bases his conclusions on a view of an established monolithic movement and a particular view of Christian authority. He concludes, “the New Testament writings… were intended to be documents with an authority equivalent to that of Scripture.” (154) This is quite impossible to prove. After all, there was no single source of Scripture (I assume this means what we call today the Old Testament) for the early Church. Further, his very next sentence threatens to derail his first chapter. One must simply assume that the authors of the New Testament books believed they were writing something not yet categorized until the 2nd century. One must also dismiss much of historical criticism regarding the authors of these books. If anything, Kruger’s argument in this chapter is upheld only by those who wrote in the names of the Apostles (the Pastorals, 2 Peter), but falls if we assume each author wrote each book assigned to him.
His fifth and final chapter speaks to the date of the formation of the canon. Here, his not-so-silent guide, St. Irenaeus, provides almost his (positive) sole evidence. Clement of Alexandria, who barely gets a mention in this present book, would provide enough counter evidence (as suggested by Francis Watson in his recent book, Gospel Writing) that the canon was not closed but still very much open, even when it came to the Gospels. This chapter, by in large, is the most unconvincing.
Even if one does not accept Kruger’s evidences for his conclusions, he provides solid conclusions based on his provided evidence. His goal is to offer a counter to the current extrinsic model for the canon. He does just that. Although I feel he presents a dichotomy that may not stand the rigors of academic exploration, Kruger establishes a well-crafted attempt at reframing the canon debate. He succeeds, if not in convincing me of his point, then in convincing me that the extrinsic model is wrong.
There is a growing trend among Protestants to explore, for whatever reason, higher church communions. The group known collectively as the Orthodox Church is one of those benefitting from the longing among former Evangelicals. But, what does it offer? Unlike the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church (in realities, many different Churches connected by theology, but lacking a uniting structure) is not widely known in the West. After all, a split occurred officially at the beginning of the second millenium after Christ, leaving the Western world under the monotheological sphere of Rome, at least until the Protestant Reformation. The Orthodox Church was left under to wonder on their on, as is the case of the Russian Orthodox Church, or under the realm of Islamic caliphates, like the Greek Orthodox Church.
Because of this isolation Westerners do not know what the Orthodox Church is, believes, or hopes for. Westerners, and this becomes clearer the more I investigate Orthodoxy, are at a loss for how theology is “done” in other branches of Christianity. While we share, for instance, the doctrine of the Trinity, the approach to it from the West and the East differ in several meaningful ways. Orthodoxy is still hidden behind ancient bigotry and intellectual illiteracy.
Andrew Louth, himself a priest of the Russian Orthodox Diocese of Sourozh (Moscow Patriarchate), aims to change that with his Introducing Eastern Orthodox Theology. He writes not to convert or otherwise proselytize, although at times I felt a pull on my Tiber-drenched Wesleyan heart. Rather as the title suggests, he writes to introduce to us a rather unknown stream of Christianity. While I knew something about Orthodoxy before engaging this book, I was able to learn more, much more than I expected.
Louth has divided this introduction into 9 theological areas. There does not seem to be an area that is lacking, unless you believe justification and individual sin are the main areas of Christian witness. Indeed, these topics are either not addressed, or simply not addressed in any meaningful way. Throughout Louth’s exploration of these areas, one gets a real sense that Orthodox theology places more emphasis on Christ, his nature, and his reign than it does on exacting theological formulations or any avoidance of a Lake of Fire. I say this tongue-in-cheek because, simply, that is what Louth (and other Orthodox authors) maintain is the real theology of the Church. Topics include the Trinity, Tradition, Sin, Creation, the Sacraments, Liturgy, and what happens next. Some of the tenants of the beliefs may surprise Christians simply not familiar with the East.
What Louth reveals is not a Church that is simply the Catholic Church without the Pope, but an ancient communion filled with wonder, mystery, and a deep and abiding spirituality with Christ at its center and our heart as the goal. Without any argumentation, or swipes at differing viewpoints and traditions, Louth is able to present small and neatly contained units of theological dogma to a wide audience by drawing upon shared beliefs. It is a masterful attempt at using what we know to inform us about what we do not know. Further, and thankfully, Louth has included a suggested reading list as an appendix.
The only issue I have with the book is the lack of a glossary. I know what Protestants call things and, for the most part, I know how a Roman Catholic is going to write about certain theological elements. However, there are some words in this book what will require at least an internet search to understand. While the book can be read without knowledge of what an anaphora or troparion is, these words and what they mean are themselves a part of the unknown aspect of Orthodoxy.
I would highly recommend this book to small groups but so too to the individual who desires to see what the Orthodox Church is about. This does not argue for the supremacy of Orthodoxy, but shows the whats and the whys of the ancient communion. If nothing else, what is revealed is an ancient and beautiful tradition of worshiping Christ.
Alas, but it is impossible to give a detailed review when 1) you do not have a full volume before you and 2) the project is as massive as this. Yet, I am gracious IVP-Academic has sent along a sampler for, if nothing else, a reasonable tease.
This new set, a 3 volume monstrosity of immense worth, is the second English edition, based on an Italian predecessor. As the preface notes, this progenitor grew and was subsequently outgrown by patristic studies. The rise in patristic study called for a new edition, first produced in 1992 by Oxford. Following that, a second Italian edition was released, leading us to this point, the second English edition (now published by Intervarsity Press). This new entry has increased the number of articles by 35%. The list of contributors is as impressive as the weight of the volumes. There are 26 countries represented among 266 contributors. This represents a large swath of modern Christian streams and adds to the flavorful understanding of the many facets of early Christianity. From the preface we learn that Arabic, Coptic, Armenian and Gothic experts are among the new contributors.
The set up will remind the reader of the Anchor Bible Dictionary (edited by David Noel Freedman) with the inclusion of a small but pointed bibliography after each article. Further, it appears (after a scan of the sampler) the articles include original languages when necessary. For instance, the entry for Abrasax includes both the Greek and Latin form of the name. This is truly an academic encyclopedia worthy of critical patristic studies. Further, like the ABD, this encyclopedia addresses even those things scholars may think minor such as presumed bishops (names afforded only by Tradition) as well as general topics, such as Abandoned Children.
Finally, articles are geared to the patristic field. For instance, when you examine the article on Abraham, unlike a critical dictionary that seeks to show the historical development or a theological dictionary examining how Abraham was seen in, say, Romans, the article in this work looks at how Abraham was imagined during the patristic time (identified in the preface as between 90 and 950). Thus, the Abraham article is divided into two parts. The first part examines Abraham among the Church Fathers while the second examines iconographic works associated with the Patriarch.
The cost may be prohibitive of students and laity, although I hope to see it include in bible software programs which will soften the price somewhat. Given the 3 volume set, even the retail price is not exorbitant, but more than likely the price is geared to libraries. With that in mind, this set would make a perfect addition to church libraries as well. If you are a patristic student, then you will benefit from this set. There is no question about that.
Unsurprisingly, given Sigmund Freud’s understanding of religion, the conversation between Christianity and psychoanalysis has long been marked by mutual suspicion. Psychoanalysis originated within a naturalist, post-Enlightenment context and sought to understand human functioning and pathology–focusing on phenomena such as the unconscious and object representation–on a strictly empirical basis. Given certain accounts of divine agency and human uniqueness, psychoanalytic work was often seen as competitive with a Christian understanding of the human person.
The contributors to Christianity and Psychoanalysis seek to start a new conversation. Aided by the turn to relationality in theology, as well as by a noncompetitive conception of God’s transcendence and agency, this book presents a fresh integration of Christian thought and psychoanalytic theory. The immanent processes identified by psychoanalysis need not compete with Christian theology but can instead be the very means by which God is involved in human existence. The Christian study of psychoanalysis can thus serve the flourishing of God’s kingdom.
Check out the IVP site for more about the content and other features.
The modern world has not treated biblical interpretation kindly. As one of the contributors points out, such interpretation is often treated as a way to validate one’s presuppositions about all things theist. Further, modernity has given us new swaths of methodologies, some of them foreign to Scripture and Christian Tradition and some of them underused. This book, through various essays explaining how to be responsible in biblical interpretation, attempts to address our approaches to Scripture. The essays, previously given as lectures, are in honor of Anthony Thiselton and his work defining interpretative methodologies.
The book has 8 chapters, an introduction and a conclusion. These essays examine biblical hermeneutics not from various methodologies, such as post-colonialism or empire critical studies, but as to what responsibility the biblical exegete must employ. At no point should you understand that this book is going to tell you how to interpret according to this or that strategy. Rather, it is to teach you how to be responsible. For example, Thiselton gives the first essay as a move forward, setting out the reason we must include different interpretative strategies in our understanding of Scripture. From here, we encounter 7 areas of responsibility — theological, scriptural, kerygmatic, historical, critical, relational, and ecclesial. Easy essay is presented in an accessible way, to engender a better dialogue between the Church and the Academy, between the traditional and non-traditional approaches.
The authors are faithful to Scripture and in a unique, critical, and non-naive way, faithful to Christian Tradition. Unless one is so complacent in their own historical setting as to remain unmoved, either by reason or the Spirit, then everyone who takes up and reads this book will learn more about biblical interpretation then they may have allowed possible. Be warned, there is little room for confirmation bias. The arguments are methodical and made by authors representing the best of the Christian intellect.
My one concern is the lack of representation among the essayists/contributors. All are men and I would offer a guess, they are solely white. As a white male, I should have no issue with this, but it would be interesting to see what a non-white female may have had to say in the historical responsibility setting. Further, since the book is expressly about the plurality of voices in modern biblical interpretation, the book is rather hegemonic in context. With that said, however, what The Future of Biblical Interpretation: Responsible Plurality in Biblical Hermeneutics delivers is nothing less than a giant leap into the right direction for deciding what to do with pre-modernity, modernity, Tradition, and the plurality of voices when it involves how to interpret Scripture responsibly.