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Theological Hermeneutics: Development and Significance.

Jeanrond's previous volume, Text and Interpretation as Categories of Theological Thinking, was principally an outline of Gadamer on interpretation, Ricoeur on the interpreted text, and David Tracy on the classic as applied to theological texts. Its last section shifted from a focus on linguistic theory of texts in general to the character of theological texts in particular. The present volume carries forward the discussion of Christian theology as itself a hermeneutical task. A bibliography of basic, oftcited sources is accessible to readers of English.

Though the volume opens as an historical survey of theological hermeneutics prior to the modern era, the jump from Augustine to the Protestant Reformation can hardly do justice to either Augustine or the following millennium. The real aim of the volume is to outline the history of modern philosophical hermeneutics starting with Schleiermacher, Dilthey, and Heidegger as predecessors of Gadamer and Ricoeur. J. accounts for the impact of philosophical hermeneutics on Christian theology, localized in the argument between Barth and Bultmann. As a side-line, J. devotes some discussion to the nature of the written text, but this is a review of basic linguistics. A chapter on reader-response theory is more extensive, in contrast to the short shrift it received in Text and Interpretation. J. seems to have shifted his allegiance from the normativity of text to the act of reading.

A final chapter on the new hermeneutics presents the challenges posed by three Christian theological paradigms: defense of dogmatic certainty, text-interpretation as dialogue with culture and world, and intra-textual consideration. On the question of whether text (Scripture), tradition (doctrine), or interpretation (theological hermeneutics) is ultimately normative for the Christian community, J. argues for the third.
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Author:Rosenblatt, Marie-Eloise
Publication:Theological Studies
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jun 1, 1993
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