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The Formation of Christian Understanding:…
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The Formation of Christian Understanding: Theological Hermeneutics (edição 2000)

por Charles M. Wood

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Título:The Formation of Christian Understanding: Theological Hermeneutics
Autores:Charles M. Wood
Informação:Wipf & Stock Publishers (2000), Paperback, 128 pages
Colecções:A sua biblioteca

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The Formation of Christian Understanding: Theological Hermeneutics por Charles M. Wood

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I really wanted to "like" this book; I even put off writing this review for a few days to see if some of its ideas would "grow" on me; unfortunately, this really hasn't happened. It's not that this book is necessarily "bad," it's just that I've read better (and more extensive) treatments of this subject that make this book a little superfluous.

What it has in its favor is its brevity. It's not so much a "book" as it is an "extended essay," easily digestible in an afternoon read. Wood IS a gifted theological writer, so his language remains clear even when discussing complex ideas. That is all to the good.
I didn't find much "new" here that wasn't explained as well and even better in, for example, Dan Treier's "Virtue and the Voice of God." But even this requires a caveat: Wood first published this essay in 1981, at the "front end" of the push toward theological hermeneutics. In its day, I'm sure it was a forward-thinking, even revolutionary, approach, but now that theological hermeneutics (thanks to the like of Treier, Kevin Vanhoozer, and Francis Watson, to name just three of the bigger names) has come into its own as a discipline, what I read here struck me as a bit tired.

But the REAL reason that the book failed to impress me was its concluding "return" to a Barthian view of Scripture that bifurcates "Word of God" and "Bible." I was aware the entire time that Wood was attempting to "rescue" the concept of scriptural authority but just felt that he was failing in the attempt. The most natural direction of his work on the proper "use" of Scripture would have been to call to task the predominant historical-critical paradigms that have governed this text's interpretations for the past nearly two centuries. But he wouldn't go there. At all.

And, for me, it damaged the book's credibility. Many scholars before and since have boldly suggested we've been reading the Bible "all wrong"; why couldn't...wouldn't...Wood make the same stand? While I do appreciate and agree with Wood's claims that 1) the Bible can be studied in different ways with different methodological tools that will generate sometimes radically different understandings, and 2) that many of these differing interpretations are illuminating and helpful across multiple disciplines of Scripture reading, he seemed unwilling to admit that some readings are simply "better" than others. Wood wanted to simply "make room" for a theological reading, but was unwilling to argue that it was in any way "superior" to any other kind of reading.

Perhaps if Wood were writing the book today, he would feel much more comfortable to make greater claims for his ideas. (I certainly found myself wishing for a "revised and expanded" edition.) In his position at the "beginnings" of theological hermeneutics, he probably had to step very carefully in introducing his ideas. I'm sympathetic...but still disappointed. This largely negative review does NOT by any means indicate that I'll be throwing it away (I'm too much of a bibliophile; I love books I even hate); I probably WILL pick it up to read again on another slow afternoon after I've absorbed some other materials in the field of theological hermeneutics. He IS, after all a pioneer in the field, and one must give him credit for "kicking open" a subject that has so obviously issued in a veritable renaissance of theological study of Scripture. For that he deserves credit, whatever my opinion of the faults of this particular work may be. ( )
  Jared_Runck | Mar 14, 2016 |
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