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Hope as an Interpretive Virtue: The Grounds, Contents and Action of Christian Hope in the Theological Interpretation of Scripture

WYLD, RICHARD,MICHAEL (2014) Hope as an Interpretive Virtue: The Grounds, Contents and Action of Christian Hope in the Theological Interpretation of Scripture. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



This thesis examines the theological interpretation of the Bible as Christian scripture in the light of the Christian doctrine of hope, with specific reference to hope as a human characteristic. Hope is thus discussed in terms of interpretive virtue, as one human characteristic that leads to good biblical reading. The doctrine of hope is examined with reference to Jürgen Moltmann and James Cone, and in both lines of thought is outlined in terms of grounds, contents and action. Common contours are drawn; hope is grounded in God’s promise and presence, and contains the dignity and transformation of humans in relationship with God and one another. Hope’s grounds and contents directly shape the hermeneutical situation in which scripture is read. The action of hope involves living in accordance with one’s grasp of these grounds and contents, and because these parameters have hermeneutical consequences, so living hopefully will shape the action of reading. The hopeful reader perseveres with the text in a tension between openness to God through the text, and ‘closed’ steadfastness in the reader’s grip on their perspective of hope. By incorporating Garrett Green’s description of the imagination, this steadfastness is described as a hopeful construal of reality that remains alert to alternatives. It is then argued that because Christian hope pertains to the renewal of human community, the hopeful reader seeks to read alongside diverse others. Finally, this thesis is tested by showing how hope is manifest in the reading of Howard Thurman and the South Sudanese People to People Peace initiatives. The thesis describes the hermeneutical circle in terms of Christian hope where hope aids, and results from, good biblical reading. Through this, the thesis creates a framework for theological interpretation which takes seriously the centrality of hope in Christian theology.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Hope, Interpretive Virtue, Theological Interpretation, Scripture, Hermeneutics
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Theology and Religion, Department of
Thesis Date:2014
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:29 May 2014 13:48

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