Monday, February 19, 2007

Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology on Christianity and Other Religions

While doing some research on Terry Muck's work in preparation for an intensive course he will be leading at the seminary I recently came across an interesting journal. It is titled Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology. The January 2007 issue is devoted to an exploration of Christianity and other religions. As the journal's website for this issue describes it:

A majority of the articles in this issue of Interpretation reach toward a similar goal. The discipline under scrutiny is the theology of religions. Few serious Christians will need to be convinced that this is one of the most urgent tasks of theology today. Novel forms of communication technology and the physical relocation of many millions of people to new homelands over the past few decades have put different religions in close proximity to one another, to a degree never before experienced. Increasingly, people with different faith commitments have to learn how to live together. In the West, disputes over the place of religion in public life are made more complex by the fact that once unfamiliar traditions are now also deeply involved in the conversation. Globalized threats of violence that claim religious sanction complicate the best efforts we might make to engage with the religious other in our societies; sometimes, fear of that violence can entirely sap the will even to begin to understand those who stand outside of the circle of one’s own faith group.

Several of the articles and contributors in this issue caught my attention:

"Theology of Religions after Knitter and Hick: Beyond the Paradigm" by Terry C. Muck

Abstract: Both Paul Knitter and John Hick rely heavily on the exclusivist-inclusivist-pluralist paradigm. In a world that has become increasingly suspicious of missionary activity, moving beyond this paradigm calls for a bigger theology, wider methodology, and deeper missiology characterized by participant theologizing.

"A response to Terry Muck" by Marianne Farina

"Can we get 'Beyond the Paradigm'? A response to Terry Muck" by Amos Yong

"The Bible, Mission, and Social Location: Toward a Missional Hermeneutic" by Michael Barram

Abstract: Despite a long-standing rift between missiology and biblical scholarship, current trends in both disciplines— such as a converging emphasis on the significance of social location in biblical interpretation—suggest that the time may be ripe for a "missional hermeneutic" that would privilege the missiological "location" of the Christian community in the world as a key to a critical and faithful approach to Scripture.

I have secured a copy of this issue but have not had a chance yet to read through these essays. I am looking forward to it and hope others will wade through them for reflection as well.


Steve Hayes said...

I haven't seen what Terry Muck has to say, but I have always found the Knitter paradigm quite inadequate.

It is not a theology of religions at all, but rather a Christianity-centric theology of interreligious dialogue, which is not the same thing.

Knitter seems to base everything on the question whether there is salvation in religions other than Christianity -- but Christians can't agree among themselves on what constitutes "salvation", so which Christian model do they go looking for in other religions, some of which have no concept of "salvation" at all?

Does Muck manage to do any better than Knitter at this?

John W. Morehead said...

I haven't read Muck's article yet, Steve, but I have always apppreciated and benefited from his perspective, as well as that of one of the respondents, Amos Yong, so I anticipate good reads. I will post a summary review after I read through these essays.