- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Yale University Press; Revised ed. edition (September 10, 1980)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0300026021
- ISBN-13: 978-0300026023
- Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #83,437 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Eclipse of Biblical Narrative: A Study in Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Hermeneutics Revised ed. Edition
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A realistic interpretation is a strict correspondence between word and reality. There can only be one meaning: that of the author. This is problematic when one approaches biblical prophecy: were the prophets’ intended meanings the same as that of the New Testament readers? At this point the realistic paradigm breaks down.
A figural reading is close to Reformed typology: the narrated sequence contains its own meaning (Frei 28). While Frei doesn’t draw the explicit conclusion, if typology is true, then one must have a narratival epistemology. One will note this is standard Protestant--especially Reformed covenantal--hermeneutics. So what happened in history, especially in Germany? The blossoming liberal schools quite correctly saw that if typology is true, then the bible has a coherent unity. If the bible has a coherent unity, then it forces a narratival epistemology. If that is true, then dualisms of a Platonic or Kantian sort are ruled out.
“What if Plato were a German Liberal?”
The development of hermeneutics didn’t take place in a vacuum. Scholars were interacting with contemporary philosophical shfits. The liberal schools would not accept a realistic hermeneutics because it was obvious (for them) that miracles and resurrection were not part of “reality.” They could not accept a typological reading because typology is at war with internalized, spiritual pious gush.
Lessons to be learned: A Conclusion of sorts
It’s not clear if Frei himself avoids all of the criticisms of liberal theology.Read more ›
Chapter 13 seems to best organize the overall content of the book and illustrate the point that Frei is making. By understanding and successfully demonstrating the central problem to be, simply, a loss of narrative meaning, his assessment, as he wisely navigates a difficult history of interpretation, proves a very elegant one. Few thinkers are this insightful or gifted as to reduce an entire history of discussion and dialog to one succinctly stated criticism.Read more ›