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Hermeneutics and the Church

Hermeneutics and the Church

In Dialogue with Augustine

James A. Andrews

In Hermeneutics and the Church, James A. Andrews presents a close reading of De doctrina christiana as a whole and places Augustine’s text into dialogue with contemporary theological hermeneutics. The dialogical nature of the exercise allows Augustine to remain a living voice in contemporary debates about the use of theology in biblical interpretation. In particular, Andrews puts Augustine’s hermeneutical treatise into dialogue with the theologians Werner Jeanrond and Stephen Fowl.

Andrews argues on the basis of De doctrina christiana that the paradigm for theological interpretation is the sermon and that its end is to engender the double love of God and neighbor. With the sermon as the paradigm of interpretation, Hermeneutics and the Church offers practical conclusions for future work in historical theology and biblical interpretation. For Augustine scholars, Andrews offers a reading of De doctrina that takes seriously the entirety of the work and allows Augustine to speak consistently through words written at the beginning and end of his bishopric. For theologians, this book provides a model of how to engage theologically with the past, and, more than that, it offers the actual fruits of such an engagement: suggestions for the discipline of theological hermeneutics and the practice of scriptural interpretation.

“This book is a creative piece of work. James A. Andrews establishes the sermon as the essential paradigm with which to read and better grasp Augustine’s hermeneutical approach, which oscillates between understanding a text and delivering what one has understood. This book will prove fruitful for a modern appropriation of Augustine’s powerful hermeneutical ideas, which continue to have considerable impact in theology and other disciplines.” — Karla Pollmann, University of St. Andrews

“Hermeneutics and the Church: In Dialogue with Augustine contributes both to Augustine studies and to the emerging interdisciplinary discussion about theological interpretation of scripture. Andrews makes a convincing case that Augustine is working with an expanded, a posteriori theological hermeneutics that aims at both understanding and communication, respects authorial meaning, and guides readers to growth in faith and love." — Kevin Vanhoozer, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

“Augustine’s De doctrina christiana is the supreme classic of Christian theological hermeneutics, far surpassing competitors such as Origen and Schleiermacher in its scope and significance. James Andrews ably shows how contemporary hermeneutical discussion can provide a new context for Augustine’s distinctive voice and, conversely, how our current understanding and practice of scriptural interpretation can be enriched by returning to the patristic sources of the interpretive tradition.” — Francis Watson, Durham University

“Hermeneutics and the Church is a work of wide learning and keen theological intelligence, moving easily between the history of early Christian thought, contemporary hermeneutics, and theological construction. Elegantly argued and full of well-observed detail, it will be read with profit by historians, exegetes, and theologians alike." — John Webster, King’s College

ISBN: 978-0-268-02041-5
E-ISBN 978-0-268-07475-3
320 pages
Publication Year: 2012

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James A. Andrews is research associate in the Cambridge Inter-Faith Programme, Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge.

“This is a very fine book. . . . The last few pages, in which Augustine locates Scripture in the context of the Eucharistic liturgy, are among the most powerful treatments of ‘theological interpretation’ of which I am aware.” — Theology

“This volume takes the form of a dialogue between Augustine and contemporary theology, with particular attention to Augustine’s theoretical hermeneutics as found in De Doctrina Cristiana, which is his theoretical reflection on the practice of interpretation.” — New Testament Abstracts

“Not only does [Andrews] join scholars across centuries and disciplines, he respects the concerns of both the academy and the church. Rather than perpetuating the antagonism that has grown up between academicians and practitioners, he places them in a way that they can engage together as iron sharpening iron.” — Comitatus

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P03217

Evagrius and His Legacy


Edited by Joel Kalvesmaki and Robin Darling Young

P03214

Gregory the Great

Ascetic, Pastor, and First Man of Rome

George E. Demacopoulos

P03144

Harp of Prophecy

Early Christian Interpretation of the Psalms


Edited by Brian E. Daley, S.J., and Paul R. Kolbet

Hermeneutics and the Church

In Dialogue with Augustine

James A. Andrews

 Hermeneutics and the Church: In Dialogue with Augustine
Paper Edition

In Hermeneutics and the Church, James A. Andrews presents a close reading of De doctrina christiana as a whole and places Augustine’s text into dialogue with contemporary theological hermeneutics. The dialogical nature of the exercise allows Augustine to remain a living voice in contemporary debates about the use of theology in biblical interpretation. In particular, Andrews puts Augustine’s hermeneutical treatise into dialogue with the theologians Werner Jeanrond and Stephen Fowl.

Andrews argues on the basis of De doctrina christiana that the paradigm for theological interpretation is the sermon and that its end is to engender the double love of God and neighbor. With the sermon as the paradigm of interpretation, Hermeneutics and the Church offers practical conclusions for future work in historical theology and biblical interpretation. For Augustine scholars, Andrews offers a reading of De doctrina that takes seriously the entirety of the work and allows Augustine to speak consistently through words written at the beginning and end of his bishopric. For theologians, this book provides a model of how to engage theologically with the past, and, more than that, it offers the actual fruits of such an engagement: suggestions for the discipline of theological hermeneutics and the practice of scriptural interpretation.

“This book is a creative piece of work. James A. Andrews establishes the sermon as the essential paradigm with which to read and better grasp Augustine’s hermeneutical approach, which oscillates between understanding a text and delivering what one has understood. This book will prove fruitful for a modern appropriation of Augustine’s powerful hermeneutical ideas, which continue to have considerable impact in theology and other disciplines.” — Karla Pollmann, University of St. Andrews

“Hermeneutics and the Church: In Dialogue with Augustine contributes both to Augustine studies and to the emerging interdisciplinary discussion about theological interpretation of scripture. Andrews makes a convincing case that Augustine is working with an expanded, a posteriori theological hermeneutics that aims at both understanding and communication, respects authorial meaning, and guides readers to growth in faith and love." — Kevin Vanhoozer, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

“Augustine’s De doctrina christiana is the supreme classic of Christian theological hermeneutics, far surpassing competitors such as Origen and Schleiermacher in its scope and significance. James Andrews ably shows how contemporary hermeneutical discussion can provide a new context for Augustine’s distinctive voice and, conversely, how our current understanding and practice of scriptural interpretation can be enriched by returning to the patristic sources of the interpretive tradition.” — Francis Watson, Durham University

“Hermeneutics and the Church is a work of wide learning and keen theological intelligence, moving easily between the history of early Christian thought, contemporary hermeneutics, and theological construction. Elegantly argued and full of well-observed detail, it will be read with profit by historians, exegetes, and theologians alike." — John Webster, King’s College

ISBN: 978-0-268-02041-5

320 pages

“This is a very fine book. . . . The last few pages, in which Augustine locates Scripture in the context of the Eucharistic liturgy, are among the most powerful treatments of ‘theological interpretation’ of which I am aware.” — Theology

“This volume takes the form of a dialogue between Augustine and contemporary theology, with particular attention to Augustine’s theoretical hermeneutics as found in De Doctrina Cristiana, which is his theoretical reflection on the practice of interpretation.” — New Testament Abstracts

“Not only does [Andrews] join scholars across centuries and disciplines, he respects the concerns of both the academy and the church. Rather than perpetuating the antagonism that has grown up between academicians and practitioners, he places them in a way that they can engage together as iron sharpening iron.” — Comitatus

Reading the Scriptures