Friday, 7 August 2015
The Last Two Canonical Perspectives
Canon & Community: A Guide to Canonical Criticism,
James A. Sanders, Wipf and Stock, 2000, page 72-74
Sanders' third and fourth perspectives are: to do theology when you first read a text; and to derive meaning only after considering the theology.
Ask first what the account indicates G-d was doing; then ask what the theocentric reading indicates we can do in and with our lives in the light of it.
Only when it is clear what G-d is doing are we in a position to derive meaning or action from a text. Sanders suggests that three qualities are required:
- honesty - seeing and admitting the flaws in the biblical characters and working out what G-d was doing before working out what we should do
- humility - identifying with the not-so-good characters in order to hear the challenges
- humour - taking G-d more serioulsy and ourselves less seriously ach time we read
Finally, Sanders argue, we should have in our minds:
the view of God that emerges from the canon as a whole, with the full Torah-Christ story in mind. Not just with the Redeemer G-d of the NT in mind but also with the Creator G-d of the OT in mind ... the Holy Warrior G-d tempered by the Good Shepherd (Isa 40:10-11; 1 Corinthians 15:54-57).
Claiming that the results of both clergy and laity in the church to theologise first on reading a text could be revolutionary.
This means taking the First and Third Persons, G-d and Spirit,, of the Trinity as seriously as the Second, Christ. To read the Bible on its own terms is to tap a source of power almost beyond reckoning. The word "revival" is not strong enough, in my opinion, to describe the possible effects.