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Reading the Sacred Text: An Introduction in Biblical Studies

, 2002
ISBN: 9780567088246

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Reading the Sacred Text is a comprehensive manual for anyone wishing to become competent in reading and understanding the Scriptures of the Judeo-Christian tradition. The chapters of this book introduce the reader to all aspects of biblical studies. They guide the reader through the maze, from 'Venturing In' to 'Negotiated Reading'. For example, there are sections on considering the self-consciousness of the reader/interpreter, the interaction of the tradition with the text of Scripture through the ages, the various literary genres together with the principal forms within the larger Biblical documents, ways of reading the text in the modern and post-modern periods, how the academic reading of Scripture and the church reading interact, the relation between competent reading of the sacred text and the preparation and delivery of the sermon, and the place of dialogue in the interpretive process. The conclusion sums up the discussion throughout the book and focuses the issues for a competent reading of the Bible and related writings.

Student-friendly features include, at the end of each chapter: an Objective, summarizing the content and objective of the chapter; 12-14 Lead Questions which act as in-depth study exercises; full bibliography, and suggestions for further reading.

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“The problem he finds with Lonergan’s approach to religion, and by extension to Christian theology, is his insistence on an a priori human consciousness in which is found an awareness of the transcendent.7 Lindbeck’s cultural-linguistic approach compares religious thought to the way we learn language.8 Religious awareness is not prior to experience, he argues, but develops out of human encounters in culture: it is shaped by ritual, myth, and symbol expressed in cultural context. There is no God-consciousness apart from the particularity of life, as in the learning of a particular language. People do not learn language, he insists; they learn a language. So also religion—people acquire religious understanding in cultural particularity.” (Page 4)

“Method, in the final analysis, should not be located exclusively within a religious ideology of any kind. If minds are to meet around biblical studies and theology, as meet they surely must these days, they must meet on the issue of method that transcends religious and cultural particularity. As long as ideological ‘method’ continues to be viewed as foundational, so will interpretation of biblical texts be truncated and groups of believing readers divided from each other.” (Page 34)

“The more we know about the ancient, sacred texts, about their social, cultural and political environment, about their literary-rhetorical texture, and not least about our self-conscious reading of these great texts, the more likely we are to enter into meaningful dialogue with the texts, and thus also to grasp creatively and responsibly their intended sense and significance.” (Page 2)

  • Title: Reading the Sacred Text: An Introduction in Biblical Studies
  • Author: V. George Shillington
  • Publisher: Continuum International
  • Publication Date: 2002
  • Pages: 352

V. George Shillington is Professor Emeritus of Biblical and Theological Studies at Canadian Mennonite University, Winnipeg. Publications (books): An Introduction to the Study of Luke-Acts (T & T Clark, 2007); On A Journey with God, (Springfield Publications, 2003), Reading the Sacred Text (T & T. Clark, 2002); 2 Corinthians (Herald Press, 1998). He has taught introductory courses to the New Testament for over thirty years, both at an undergraduate and a seminary level.


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    Digital list price: $35.99
    Save $9.00 (25%)