Divine Scripture in Human Understanding
A Systematic Theology of the Christian Bible
458 pages, 6.00 x 9.00
Hardcover | 9780268105174 | March 2019
eBook (PDF) | 9780268105198 | March 2019
eBook (EPUB) | 9780268105204 | March 2019
Divine Scripture in Human Understanding addresses the confusing plurality of contemporary approaches to Christian Scripture—both within and outside the academy—by articulating a traditionally grounded, constructive systematic theology of Christian Scripture. Utilizing primarily the methodological resources of Bernard Lonergan and traditional Christian doctrines of Scripture recovered by Henri de Lubac, it draws upon achievements in historical critical study of Scripture, studies of the material history of Christian Scripture, reflection on philosophical hermeneutics and philosophical and theological anthropology, and other resources to articulate a unified but open horizon for understanding Christian Scripture today.
Following an overview of the contemporary situation of Christian Scripture, Joseph Gordon identifies intellectual precedents for the work in the writings of Irenaeus, Origen, and Augustine, who all locate Scripture in the economic work of the God to whom it bears witness by interpreting it through the Rule of Faith. Subsequent chapters draw on Scripture itself; classical sources such as Irenaeus, Origen, Augustine, and Aquinas; the fruit of recent studies on the history of Scripture; and the work of recent scholars and theologians to provide a contemporary Christian articulation of the divine and human locations of Christian Scripture and the material history and intelligibility and purpose of Scripture in those locations. The resulting constructive position can serve as a heuristic for affirming the achievements of traditional, historical-critical, and contextual readings of Scripture and provides a basis for addressing issues relatively underemphasized by those respective approaches.
Joseph K. Gordon is associate professor of theology at Johnson University.
"Divine Scripture in Human Understanding has the potential to greatly aid the ways in which Scripture is used and understood in theological debate, especially in those communities that are more biblically oriented. Its sophisticated discussion of the actual history of Scripture within an overall context of divine providence undoes any attempt at fundamentalism. The book is accessible to nonspecialists, but will be of greater value to those who are seeking professionally to understand their own performance in relation to questions such as 'What do we mean by biblical theology?' and 'Is biblical theology just exegesis?' ~Neil Ormerod, Australian Catholic University
"Joseph Gordon offers a sophisticated, creative, and compelling account of the human-divine character of Scripture, and of Scripture’s instrumental role in the divine economy of human transformation for participation in the life of the Triune God. Gordon’s treatments of the rule of faith as hermeneutical necessity, the soul (reinterpreted for our context) as the subject of transformation, and the theological significance of the Bible’s concrete, diverse instantiations inform his overall project in fresh ways. This is an important volume that deserves the careful attention of both biblical scholars and theologians." ~Michael J. Gorman, Raymond E. Brown Professor of Biblical Studies and Theology, St. Mary’s Seminary & University
"This wide-ranging, informative, and readable study . . . offers the reader 'a systematic theology of the Christian Bible,' intended to assist contemporary Christians in the 'perennial challenges' of '[d]etermining the function and role of Scripture in Christian life and thought and articulating the precise parameters of interpretation of the Bible.' " ~Christian Studies
"This book is a rich meditation on the theology of scripture. Its thoroughness, variety of interlocutors, clarity of expression, and irenic results make it suitable for undergraduate and graduate courses in doctrine or biblical interpretation. The substantive contributions it makes to the constructive articulation of scripture make this rewarding reading for systematic theologians and biblical scholars as well." ~Reviews in Religion and Theology
“God may not have a context, but Scripture—God’s inscripturated word—certainly does, and the major contribution of Gordon’s study lies in its careful unpacking of the role that various historical contexts have on its authors’ and readers’ categories of understanding. As an added bonus, Divine Scripture in Human Understanding contains one of the clearest descriptions of Bernard Lonergan’s unique approach to theology’s task of faith seeking textual and traditioned understanding for today that I have yet come across.” ~Kevin J. Vanhoozer, Research Professor of Systematic Theology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
“Joseph K. Gordon takes up in this work the ambitious task of articulating a systematic theology of the Bible. . . . It is ultimately a Christian systematic theology proceeding from the Bible and its place in the life of the church toward its ultimate purposes as facilitating the union of the faithful with God.” ~Horizons
“Joseph K. Gordon’s approach to the perennial question for Christians of how to read Scripture—how, that is, to understand its contents, its modes of discourse, its spiritual authority, and its historical contingencies in the light of theological tradition and practice—is subtle, deft, and penetrating. The result, moreover, is a volume at once remarkably comprehensive and delightfully concise. Students of theology will profit from it immensely, but so will accomplished masters of the craft.” ~David Bentley Hart, University of Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study
"This remarkable book offers a thoroughly trinitarian approach to a systematic theology of Holy Scripture, rooting it in the rule of faith, in constructive appropriation of premodern understandings of Scripture to address postmodern paradoxes, and in absolute honesty about modern historical consciousness and awareness of the contingencies of textual transmission, of biblical diversity, and of linguistic indeterminacy. It affirms that, as the useful instrument of divine pedagogy, Scripture proves capable of perennially transforming human lives. Thus what we have here is a wonderful corrective to bibliolatry which substantiates the indispensable and vital connection between the Word of God incarnate and the Word of God inscribed." ~Frances Young, Edward Cadbury Professor Emerita of Theology, University of Birmingham
"Joseph Gordon’s first book . . . achieves something truly impressive. For Divine Scripture in Human Understanding is straightaway a major contribution to the fields of biblical interpretation and the doctrine of Scripture, combining influences and areas of research in novel and sometimes unique ways." ~Anglican Theological Review
"'Christians need to learn how to read, hear, and meditate on Scripture in a Christian manner.' This substantial and important book spells this out, in the form of a systematic theology of the Bible, in dialogue with the church fathers and with Bernard Lonergan and Henri de Lubac. It sets Scripture in a trinitarian context and makes a strong case for its inspiration and authority." ~John Barton, Oriel and Laing Professor Emeritus of the Interpretation of Holy Scripture, University of Oxford