Wednesday, 5 August 2015
Four Canonical Perspectives
Canon & Community: A Guide to Canonical Criticism,
James A. Sanders, Wipf and Stock, 2000, page 71-72
The whole Bible represents a paradigm or world-view, not simply collection of related stories. James Sanders speaks of reading the Bible as a paradigm, rather than a casket of jewels of wisdom and offers four canonical perspectives to maintain. The first is what he calls the ambiguity of reality: G-d is reality, the objective reality pointed to by the Bible.
The ambiguity of reality is where we live. Someone has said that, should G-d come on earth with all the credentials heaven could afford, there would still be a debate about G-d's identity.
Terrorists are freedom fighters;the American patriots wereall guilty of treason under British law; there two sides to every story - this, Sanders says, is the ambiguity within which we live.
Neither history no theology can be based on a hermeneutic of "good guys and bad guys"; and yet most people still read the Bible in that way.
Might it be possible to identify with Herod or Pilot and hear what the texts say to us then?
We learn to admit our own betrayals of Christ and come to be grateful the Judas Iscariot, apparently a very dedicated youg zealot who wanted Rome to go home, was also at the table and received the bread and the cup.
I'm not sure I can see that picture Sanders tries to paint in the text, but he makes a good point that:
The Bible is highly realistic and this is surely one of the reasons it became canon, that is, adaptable for life to all generations to come. It mirrors reality and offers a vision of integrity.