Rob Plummer on Theological Interpretation of Scripture

I can’t improve on JT’s recommendation of Rob Plummer’s book, but I will say that it is a required text for my Hermeneutics course this fall.

I very much appreciate his judicious description of Theological Interpretation of Scripture (TIS), and I found his projections about where it’s going worth noting:

Initial euphoria over this new middle ground in biblical scholarship will likely give way to splintering. The issue of ultimate authority (Scripture? tradition? human reason?) will cause liberal Protestants, evangelicals, and Roman Catholics to part ways. Evangelicals will likely face division among themselves–some enamored with the broader academy’s praise of TIS at the expense of biblical faithfulness.

A generational divide also will likely characterize evangelicals. Some younger evangelicals who embrace TIS will denigrate the work of their exegetical forefathers. Older evangelicals will misunderstand and dismiss the new movement, uncritically lumping it together with other recent trends (the emergent church, postmodern theology, post-conservative theology).

In spite of some dour expectations, I genuinely hope that my fears are unfounded and that the better aspects of the movement (especially the call for reverent submission to Scripture) influence evangelical colleges, seminaries, and churches for years to come.

–Robert L. Plummer, 40 Questions About Interpreting the Bible, 318-19.

4 replies on “Rob Plummer on Theological Interpretation of Scripture”

  1. Dr. Plummer’s comments seem to be insightful and helpful. I have read Treier’s book on TIS and Leithart’s “Deep Exegesis,” both interesting works. One problem I am having (although much of TIS resonates with my Christian hermeneutic) is setting tangible parameters or guidelines for TIS. Any suggestions?

    1. I don’t know what their parameters are! I’d rather describe what I’m doing as trying to follow the hermeneutical moves made by the biblical authors themselves, which is what I understand biblical theology to be.

      1. That is an excellent point: we should not foist artificial parameters that are unbiblical. Let me ask you Dr. Hamilton: How do you teach TIS to a Christian? In other words, are there “do’s” and “dont’s”?

        Leithart’s example in “Deep Exegesis” about John 9 is not only permissible but recommended. It is biblical! Jesus as the True Adam is making new Adams (9:6). Further, looking at John 20:22, could Jesus’ breathing on the disciples be an allusion to God breathing into Adam (Gen. 2:7)? The context in John seems to be sending (2:21,23) and the Spirit as the empowerment to fulfill Jesus’ mission. However, is not the Great Commission the ultimate fulfillment of “Be fruitful and multiply” and spreading the image of God found in Jesus Christ? If you have time, I would love to hear your thoughts.

  2. Thanks for your kind words, Jim. I know you are a careful thinker on interpretation, so I value your criticism too – just don’t post them on your website. 🙂

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