Wednesday, 15 July 2015
Canon & Community: A Guide to Canonical Criticism,
James A. Sanders, Wipf and Stock, 2000, page xvdnl
James Sanders - like Brevard Childs - is concerned about the way that Scripture is used, validated and valued. He sees the 'canon' as being a key part of the process.
Christianity has become so systematically Marcionite and anti-Semitic that only a truly radical revival of the concept of canon as applied to the Bible will, I think, counter it.
He writes to try and redress this, but starts by categorising where we are and how we got there.
Canon and community. They go together. Neither truly exists without the other. Enlightenment scholarship subsequent to the Reformation has so focused on original, historical meanings that it has very very nearly decanonised the Bible. Its proper Sitz im Leben, or life setting, is the believing communities, Jewish and Christian, which find their identities in it and try to live their lives in the light of it.
Now we get to hear his heart:
Its proper life setting is not the scholar's study but the liturgical and instructional programs of believing communities; that is where it reaches full stature.