Generous Orthodoxy  

Friday, March 07, 2008

Pre-modern, modern, post-modern: the Bible today

I just wrote a letter to the editor of The Christian Century, to wit:

It is curious that Walter Brueggemann should be asked by The Christian Century to review the Isaiah volume of “The Church’s Bible” series (CC March 11), since he is well-known to be unsympathetic to the premise upon which the series is founded. He is gentlemanly in his assessment, as one would expect; he gives credit to Calvin as an interpreter, and to Ricoeur’s concept of the “second naïveté.” In general, however, he makes no bones about his distaste for the project.

When I was asked to be part of a preaching series on the Song of Songs three years ago at an undergraduate college in England, I turned to the late Richard A. Norris’ anthology, the first volume of “The Church’s Bible.” If these brilliantly translated and skilfully selected excerpts from the first thousand years had not liberated my imagination from the limited way I had been taught to understand the Song of Songs, I would not have had anything either contemporary or theological to say to a chapel full of young people facing all sorts of perplexities about God and sexuality.

In my experience, the pre-critical, pre-modern interpreters have become more vibrant than ever for our post-modern era. I plan to invest in “The Church’s Bible.”


Fleming Rutledge