Friday, July 04, 2008

A Problem with Sola Scriptura?

"The construction of new models of early Judaism and the circumstances of the rise of Christianity raise important questions for theologians. What happens, or should happen, when one discovers that theology is based on wrong history? It bears some serious reflection that the church has canonized documents that were written in its youth, in the heat of a polemic begotten of its identity crisis with Judaism, and that these early, highly tendentious, historically conditioned documents of the New Testament remain the yardstick for anti-Jewish and apocalyptic theologies.

"These observations are not intended to undercut the uniqueness and value of these texts as theological benchmarks. The question is of a different sort. Is there sufficient elasticity in the understanding of tradition to recognize that the texts of Scripture are themselves the crystallization of moments in the tradition and to seek, cherish, and recognize the value of other moments in that tradition? Catholicism and Orthodoxy, with their understanding of the complementarity of Scripture and tradition, can perhaps more easily adopt this approach than can Protestantism, with its emphasis on sola scriptura."

George W. E. Nickelsburg, Ancient Judaism and Christian Origins, p. 6.

1 comment:

Alex said...

I've been doing a lot of thinking about biblical hermeneutics lately as part of my dissertation work. I'm thinking that Methodism (and Wesleyan theology generally) has a lot of good insight on this issue. (The same would hold true for certain strands of Anglicanism, esp. as demonstrated by Rowan Williams.) While most Methodists don't really "get" the quadrillateral (which isn't a quadrillateral, in actuality), I think the model of Scripture, passed down through tradition, interpreted by reason, and made real in our experience is a good start. I actually wrote a pretty good essay on this for the Board of Ordained Ministry last year. I'll have to pull it out and send it your way.

BTW, 7 weeks to D-Day. Holy Crap.

Alex