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Revelatory Text : Interpreting the New Testament as Sacred Scripture - Sandra M. Schneiders

Revelatory Text

Interpreting the New Testament as Sacred Scripture

Paperback Published: 1st July 1999
ISBN: 9780814659434
Number Of Pages: 248

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In this new edition of her major study of the New Testament, Sandra Schneiders proposes a comprehensive hermeneutical theory for New Testament interpretation, which takes full account of the Bible as both sacred Scripture and as a historical-literary classic. Designed to spur reflection on the role of Scripture as revelatory text in the life of the Church and in the lives of individual believers, The Revelatory Text shows that an integral hermeneutical theory can ground a transformational hermeneutical praxis to make the biblical text available as a faith resource to the oppressed as well as to the privileged.

Schneiders investigates the meaning of the theological claim that the Bible is the Word of God" and the "Church's book," along with the implications of these claims for biblical interpretation. She then examines the historical, literary, and religious-spiritual dimensions of the New Testament, highlighting the implications for interpretation theory and methodology, and concludes by putting her theory to the test in a feminist interpretation of John 4.

The author argues that the comprehensive object of biblical interpretation is not merely information but transformation. She suggests that an adequate hermeneutical theory must include a wide range of exegetical and critical methods within a theologically and philosophically adequate understanding of Scripture as sacred text. She writes specifically to educated believers who wonder how sound biblical criticism can be incorporated into a faith- filled reading of the New Testament; biblical scholars who struggle with the question of whether or how faith can function legitimately in biblical scholarship; and those whose task it is to teach and preach the faith that looks to the New Testament as source and norm.

Chapters are "The Problem and Project of New Testament Interpretation," "The New Testament as Word of God," "The New Testament as the Church's Book," "The World Behind the Test: History, Imagination, and the Revelatory Text," "The World of the Text: Witness, Language, and the Revelatory Text," "The World Before the Text: Meaning, Appropriation, and the Revelatory Text," and "A Case Study: Feminist Interpretation of John 4:1- 42."

Sandra M. Schneiders, IHM, is professor of New Testament studies and Christian spirituality at the Jesuit School of Theology and the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California.


A lucid and compelling argument that recent theories of interpretation combine to offer a new way of understanding the Bible as spiritually revelatory. Students of theology, spirituality, and feminist studies will profit immensely from the critical insights of this provocative synthesis.Anne Carr, Professor of Theology, Divinity School, University of Chicago

Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
Abbreviationsp. xv
Preface to the Second Editionp. xvii
Introductionp. 1
The New Testament as Sacred Scripture
The Problem and Project of New Testament Interpretationp. 11
Introduction to the Projectp. 11
The Objectives of New Testament Interpretationp. 13
The Meaning of Meaningp. 14
Hermeneutics as Inquiry into Interpretationp. 17
The New Testament as Word of Godp. 27
The Linguistic Expression "Word of God": A Metaphorp. 27
The Referent of "Word of God": Symbolic Revelationp. 33
The Bible as Word of God: Sacramentp. 40
Theological Reflection on Scripture as Word of God: The Sacred Character of the Biblep. 43
Revelationp. 44
Inspirationp. 46
Infallibility and Inerrancyp. 53
Authority and Normativityp. 55
The Role of Faith in Biblical Interpretationp. 59
The New Testament as the Church's Bookp. 64
The Meaning of the Claimp. 64
The Meaning of Tradition and Its Relation to the New Testamentp. 66
Tradition and the Historical Consciousness of the Churchp. 67
Tradition as Foundation, Content, and Mode of the Church's Effective Historical Consciousnessp. 71
Foundationp. 72
Contentp. 74
Modep. 78
The Role of Tradition in the Interpretation of the New Testamentp. 81
The Hermeneutical Dialectic Between Scripture and Traditionp. 81
Canon as a Paradigmatic Instance of the Dialectical Relationship Between Scripture and Traditionp. 87
Faith, Tradition, and the Interpretation of Scripturep. 89
Interpreting the New Testament as Sacred Scripture
The World Behind the Text: History, Imagination, and the Revelatory Textp. 97
Reformulating the Question of the "Historical Jesus"p. 97
The Text and Its Subject Matterp. 100
The Paschal Imagination as Agent and Object of the Revelatory Textp. 102
The Relation Among the Three Levels: Actual, Historical, and Proclaimedp. 108
Implications for Interpretation of the Relation of the Text to Its Subject Matter: The Problem of Methodologyp. 110
The Terminologyp. 110
Various Methodological Approaches to the Textp. 114
Historical Approachesp. 114
Literary Approachesp. 116
Psychological and Sociological Approachesp. 117
Ideology Criticism Approachesp. 120
Theological, Religious, and Spirituality Approachesp. 121
Exegesis, Criticism, and Hermeneuticsp. 122
Exegesisp. 123
Criticismp. 124
Hermeneuticsp. 125
Conclusionp. 127
The World of the Text: Witness, Language, and the Revelatory Textp. 132
Introductionp. 132
The Text as Witnessp. 133
When Is Recourse to a Witness Necessary?p. 133
Who Can Testify?p. 134
What Is Testimony?p. 134
How Does Testifying Occur?p. 136
The Text as Languagep. 138
General Characteristics of Languagep. 138
The Text as Written Discoursep. 140
The Analogy of Written Discourse with Dialoguep. 140
Inscription and Distanciationp. 142
Ideal Meaning Versus Authorial Intentionp. 144
The Text as Art Object and as Work of Artp. 148
The Text as Classicp. 150
Methodology and the Revelatory Textp. 151
The World Before the Text: Meaning, Appropriation, and the Revelatory Textp. 157
Interpretationp. 157
Interpretation as Process: The Dialectic of Explanation and Understandingp. 157
Interpretation as Product: Meaningp. 161
Criteria of Valid Interpretationp. 164
The World Before the Textp. 167
Appropriation: Transformative Understanding of the Subject Matter of the Textp. 169
From the First Naivete to the Second Naivetep. 169
Understanding of Meaning as Appropriationp. 172
Aesthetic Surrenderp. 172
Critical Existential Interpretationp. 174
A Case Study: A Feminist Interpretation of John 4: 1-42p. 180
Introductionp. 180
The Approach: Feminist Critical Hermeneuticsp. 180
Starting Point of Feminist Criticismp. 181
Feminist Criticism as Liberationist Criticismp. 181
Suspicion and Retrievalp. 182
Feminist Critical Strategyp. 183
Translationp. 184
Focusing on Texts with Liberating Potentialp. 184
Raising Women to Visibilityp. 185
Revealing the Text's "Secrets"p. 185
Rescuing the Text from Misinterpretationp. 186
Historical and Literary Presuppositionsp. 186
Historical Presuppositionsp. 186
Literary Presuppositionsp. 187
Theological Focus of the Story: Missionp. 188
The Identity and Role of the Samaritan Woman: Christian Disciple-Apostlep. 188
Results of Feminist Interpretationp. 194
Hermeneutical Appropriationp. 195
Scripture Indexp. 201
Indexp. 202
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780814659434
ISBN-10: 0814659438
Series: Michael Glazier Books
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 248
Published: 1st July 1999
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.61 x 14.99  x 1.52
Weight (kg): 0.34
Edition Number: 2
Edition Type: Revised