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Interpretation and exegesis: An investigation into the canonical approach of B. S. Childs

Wilson, Norman Samuel (1999) Interpretation and exegesis: An investigation into the canonical approach of B. S. Childs. Masters thesis, Durham University.



We begin this study by delineating the canonical approach pioneered by B. S. Childs. Five critical perspectives on Childs' work follow raising important hermeneutical problems. M. G. Brett, C. J. Scalise and P. R. Noble respond by trying to modify and strengthen Childs' claims by invoking hermeneutical theory. J. Barr, is highly critical while J. Barton views the canonical approach as having close affinities with the 'new criticism' in secular literary studies. We next examine the exegesis of Childs in the context of his BTONT (1992). In evaluating two examples, it is found that Childs does not produce sustained and memorable exegesis, but instead becomes pre-occupied with the problem of methodology, the exegetical debate, and the history of exegesis. Thereafter our main focus is a substantial comparative study of the classic text of God's self- revelation to Moses in Ex. 3 - 4. A comparison of Childs' handling of this key passage is made with the work of J. I. Durham, T. E. Fretheim, and D. E. Gowan. Finally, we consider a Jewish contribution from N. M. Sarna. Childs' canonical exegesis does not produce sustained theological illumination; he becomes absorbed with diachronic procedures and hermeneutical debate. The other Christian commentators make some astute theological comment but this is not sustained. Of all the exegetes Sama's work yields perceptive theological comment to a degree not found in the others. The constraints of the commentary format vis-á-vis achieving sustained theological insight are noted and a practical proposal is made. But Childs' emphasis on the hermeneutical significance of "canon" and the theological nature of interpretation is broadly welcomed, though some outstanding difficulties are highlighted which need further development. The conclusion is drawn that the most effective way to enhance the canonical approach to biblical interpretation is for Childs (and others) to produce sustained and memorable exegesis.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Letters
Thesis Date:1999
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:01 Aug 2012 11:45

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