Sunday, September 13, 2009

Liberating Old Testament scholarship from reductionism

More from Brueggemann's, Theology of the Old Testament (page 28)
Walther Eichrodt seeks to do in Old Testament study what Barth undertook in dogmatic theology, against his liberal antecedents....

Eichrodt's program is to explore how all of the variations and developments of Israel's religion can be seen to be in the service of a single conceptual notion, covenant. It is impossible to overestimate what a singular intellectual achievement this project is.....
....In our current parlance, we might say that Eichrodt polemicises against the categories of modernity that critical study had imposed on the text; these categories feature individualism and autonomoy and resist articulations that are dialogical and therefore complex, ambiguous, and unsettled. The fundamental relatedness of all of reality, which is most charateristic of Israel's faith, makes the Old Testament inimical to the categories of modernity.
As an aside, I found this interesting because it confirms a point (Barth liberated theology from the limitations of reductionism imposed by liberal 19th century theology) I tried to make in my paper, Emergence and reductionism in theology and science, that is forthcoming in the Scottish Journal of Theology.

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