Reading The Decree

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What role does the interpretation of Scripture play in theological construction? In Reading the Decree David Gibson examines the exegesis of election in John Calvin and Karl Barth, and considers the relationship between election and Christology in their thought. He argues that for both Calvin and Barth their doctrine of election and its exegetical moorings are christologically shaped, but in significantly different ways.

Building on Richard A. Muller's conceptual distinction between Calvin's soteriological christocentrism and Barth's principial christocentrism, Gibson carefully explores their exegesis of the topics of Christ and election, and the election of Israel and the church. This distinction is then further developed by showing how it has a corresponding hermeneutical form: extensive christocentrism (Calvin) and intensive christocentrism (Barth). By focussing on the reception of biblical texts Reading the Decree draws attention to the neglected exegetical foundations of Calvin's doctrine of election, and makes a fresh contribution to current debates over election in Barth's thought.

The result is a study which will be of interest to biblical scholars, as well as historical and systematic theologians alike.


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Product Details

Meet the Author

David Gibson is Assistant Minister at High Church Hilton, Aberdeen. He studied theology at Nottingham University and King's College London, and completed a doctorate at the University of Aberdeen.

Francis Watson is Professor in the Department of Theology and Religion, University of Durham and was formerly a holder of the Kirby Laing Chair of New Testament Exegesis in the University of Aberdeen (1999-2007), as well as a Reader in Biblical Theology, King's College London. Previous publications include: Paul, Judaism and the Gentiles, Text, Church and World, Text and Truth and Agape, Eros, Gender.

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Table of Contents

Contents Acknowledgments Abbreviations

Chapter 1: Calvin, Barth, and Christocentrism Introduction
1. Christ and election
1.1 A theological distinction
2. Exegesis and election
2.2 A hermeneutical distinction
3. On comparing Calvin and Barth
4. Plan of the present study

Chapter 2: Christology and Election Introduction
1. Jesus Christ as the Subject of Election
1.1. Christ as author
1.2. The trinitarian basis of election in Calvin
1.3. Christ as electing God
1.4. The trinitarian basis of election in Barth
2. Jesus Christ as the Object of Election
2.1. Christ as the Mediator of election itself
2.2. Christ as the Mediator of salvation flowing from election
2.3. Christ as elected man Conclusion: Trinity and Election

Chapter 3: Community and Election Introduction
1. Calvin on Israel and the church
2. Barth on the community
3. Romans 9:1-23
4. Romans 9:24-11:36
Conclusion: Covenant and Election

Chapter 4: Hermeneutics and Election Introduction
1. The hermeneutics of election in Calvin
1.1. The location of Christology
1.2. The location of election
1.3. Christology and election
1.4. Christology and revelation
2. The hermeneutics of election in Barth
2.1. Election and Epistemology
2.2. Scripture as witness to revelation
2.3. Jesus Christ: Scripture's object and content
2.4. Mediatio: Scripture's parts and Scripture's whole

Conclusion: Revelation and Election



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