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The Comical Doctrine



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The Comical Doctrine by Rosalind Selby
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In this wide-ranging study Rosalind Selby explores the hermeneutical implications of a Barthian epistemology in which 'giveness' (of knowledge, talk of God and Scripture, and the Church) is paramount. From this she seeks to develop a 'hermeneutics of service' that challenges both liberal and fundamentalist approaches to theological language and biblical interpretation. Selby tackles the issues of knowledge, and especially knowledge of God, the language used to communicate that knowledge and that language as Scriptural textuality. Barth wrote of 'the comical doctrine that the true exegete has no presuppositions'. In fact, he said, 'no one reads the bible directly--we all read it through spectacles'. In the train of his insight, Selby examines the role of community as a prerequisite for knowledge and truth claims before examining the different ways that various 'communities' interpret Scripture (focusing on St. Mark's Gospel). The presuppositions of the different starting places are revealed and the appropriateness of various methodologies discussed. The Quest for the Historical Jesus and its struggles to handle the resurrection are used as a 'test case' to show the impact of different hermeneutical strategies. The insights in this thought-provoking study have implications for issues as wide ranging as the genre 'Gospel', the authority of Scripture, the Church as a 'reading community', the plurality of interpretations and the possibility of controlling them, the relationship between general and special theological hermeneutics, as well as epistemological foundationalism and its alternatives. ""In and ambitious and wide-ranging study, Rosalind Selby covers the central issues in recent hermeneutical debate relevant to a strong reading of Scripture. Throughout she displays an impressive command of a wide range of sources while also keeping in view vital theological matters"" --David Fergusson, head of the School of Divinity, New College, University of Edinburgh, Scotland ""A thoroughgoing Christian philosophical underpinning for New Testament interpretation was long overdue, but now we have one. Rosalind Selby tackles central philosophical questions of our day head-on, showing how insights from philosophy of the 'modern' and 'postmodern' periods can be incorporated within a robust theological realism t yield a sound framework for the enterprise. She leads us among the philosophical giants with ease and grace, persuading us that we need have no fear of them, and that they might even turn out to be our friends. I warmly commend this as an important resource for all students of biblical hermeneutics ready to be stretched through such an encounter."" --Stephen I. Wright, Director, college of Preachers, Associate Lecturer, Spurgeon's College, London Rosalind Selby is training for ministry in the United Reformed Church. She has studied at the Universities of Sheffield, Birmingham and Aberdeen.

Author Biography

Rosalind Selby is training for ministry in the United Reformed Church. She has studied at the Universities of Sheffield, Birmingham and Aberdeen.
Release date Australia
October 1st, 2006
Foreword by Iain Torrance
Illustrations, black and white
Wipf & Stock Publishers
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