Grant Macaskill on Theological Interpretation of Scripture

I have recently picked up Grant Macaskill Union With Christ in the New Testament, published by Oxford University Press. In the introductory remarks, he briefly describes the historical and theological problems of New Testament theology and history. Theology of the New Testament is sometimes rather treacherous water. That is, can an interpreter maintain the diversity and coherence of the New Testament without “flattening” the interpretive enterprise?

In recent discussions of New Testament studies, Markus Bockmuehl has provided a helpful analysis of “where we are at” regarding the scholarly enterprise in Seeing the Word: Refocusing New Testament Study (*I highly encourage any New Testament Scholar to read it and then read it once more). Macaskill admittedly is influenced by John Webster, Keven Vanhoozer, Markus Bockmuehl, and portions of Theological Interpretation movements. This is helpful for multiple reasons. First, and foremost, is the inter-disciplinary influence upon Macaskill’s thinking as a biblical scholar. Second, Macaskill’s historical-critical work will be influenced by TIS.

The following three points are areas Macaskill agrees with “aims and principles” of the movement (5).

  1. “First, the principled commitment of the theological interpretation movement ‘to do justice to the priority of God’ and to take seriously the text itself is an important corrective to the ‘magisterially’ diachronic and reductionist approach of much historical-criticism, but the explicit critique of the latter frequently entails a resistance towards the duty of the historical dimensions of the New Testament.” (6)
  2. “Second, some of the leading works of theological interoperation have been criticized for devoting too much space to methodology and hermeneutics, and too little on actual interpretation.” (6)
  3. “Third, as Vanhoozer and Webster note, our account of Scripture must leave room for it to push back against sinful interpreters, for it to function as ‘a knife at the church’s heart’.” (7)
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