on 18 May 2005
There is a general thesis behind this collection of essays, which is the attempt to try to rectify the division between doctrinal theologians and biblical scholars.
Scripture asks to be treated theologically, not picked apart by dry historical criticism, so why not do so? Reading theology out of scripture need not be the preserve of biblical conservatives: serious academics can (and should) do it too.
The essays are the result of a symposium at Cambridge University (UK) in 2003, so that's where the bulk of the academics are coming from. Essays that stand out include Rowan Williams on viewing the Bible as a sacred text (which has to be of interest to anyone considering how he is handling the Anglican Church with the Windsor report et al) and Diana Lipton, a Jewish academic, considering what to do with "unacceptable" Biblical texts, looking at the text in Deuteronomy that calls for the exterminatation of Amalek: how does this read in the light of the Holocaust?
This is a great collection: it's lively, yet penetrating and none of the essays outstays their welcome by being too long.