Revelatory Text: Interpreting the New Testament as Sacred Scripture / Edition 2

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In this new edition of her major study of the New Testament, Sandra Schneiders proposes a comprehensive hermeneutical theory for New Testament interpretation, which takes full account of the Bible as both sacred Scripture and as a historical-literary classic. Designed to spur reflection on the role of Scripture as revelatory text in the life of the Church and in the lives of individual believers, The Revelatory Text shows that an integral hermeneutical theory can ground a transformational hermeneutical praxis to make the biblical text available as a faith resource to the oppressed as well as to the privileged.

Schneiders investigates the meaning of the theological claim that the Bible is the Word of God" and the "Church's book," along with the implications of these claims for biblical interpretation. She then examines the historical, literary, and religious-spiritual dimensions of the New Testament, highlighting the implications for interpretation theory and methodology, and concludes by putting her theory to the test in a feminist interpretation of John 4.

The author argues that the comprehensive object of biblical interpretation is not merely information but transformation. She suggests that an adequate hermeneutical theory must include a wide range of exegetical and critical methods within a theologically and philosophically adequate understanding of Scripture as sacred text. She writes specifically to educated believers who wonder how sound biblical criticism can be incorporated into a faith- filled reading of the New Testament; biblical scholars who struggle with the question of whether or how faith can function legitimately in biblical scholarship; and those whose task it is to teach and preach the faith that looks to the New Testament as source and norm.

Chapters are "The Problem and Project of New Testament Interpretation," "The New Testament as Word of God," "The New Testament as the Church's Book," "The World Behind the Test: History, Imagination, and the Revelatory Text," "The World of the Text: Witness, Language, and the Revelatory Text," "The World Before the Text: Meaning, Appropriation, and the Revelatory Text," and "A Case Study: Feminist Interpretation of John 4:1- 42."

Sandra M. Schneiders, IHM, is professor of New Testament studies and Christian spirituality at the Jesuit School of Theology and the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California.


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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

. . . remains one of the most significant books in English on the interpretation of Scripture . . . . The Liturgical Press are to be thanked for making this hope-filled and faith-filled book available to another generation of readers.
The Furrow

A lucid and compelling argument that recent theories of interpretation combine to offer a new way of understanding the Bible as spiritually revelatory. Students of theology, spirituality, and feminist studies will profit immensely from the critical insights of this provocative synthesis.
Anne Carr, Professor of Theology, Divinity School, University of Chicago

By drawing on the resources of the best contemporary hermeneutical theory, Schneiders breathes new life into familiar notions such as inspiration, revelation and the Bible as 'the Word of God,' while her proposal for a 'hermeutics of transformation' breaks new ground for a creative dialogue between scholarly study of the Bible and its use in the Church. Carefully thought-out and elegantly written, this work will be a standard for theologians and biblical scholars for years to come.
John R. Donahue, S.J., Professor of New Testament, University of Notre Dame

Once again Sandra Schneiders leads the way through the difficulties of biblical interpretation, this time with a major study of contemporary hermeneutics and the New Testament. Her claim that 'contemporary New Testament scholarship actually lacks a developed hermeneutical theory,' that New Testament scholarship knows what to do but lacks the critical consciousness of the effectiveness of what it is doing, is an amazing but well-founded claim. She sets out to construct such a theory, using some of the best tools of philosophy, theology, spirituality, and tradition for the task. The result is a lucid exposition that will help many steer their way between the sharp rocks of scientific and literary methods which presently divide the scholarly community and will no doubt be a major resource and springboard for further development for years to come.
Carolyn Osiek, R.S.C.J., Professor, Department of Biblical Literature and Languages, Catholic Theological

A major theoretical defense of hermeneutics as transformation in the tradition of Ricoeur and Gadamer, this book should be required reading for all exegetes working within a Christian tradition. The author advocates a wholistic model of interpretation which incorporates the broad range of strategies of reading found in the academy today. Her model treats the Bible as the founding text of Christian spirituality and insists that a Christian imagination plays a crucial role in our encounter with and understanding of the text.
Pheme Perkins, Professor, Theology Department, Boston College

Just as the New Testament is a classic, Dr. Schneiders' contribution to our understanding of its interpretation will undoubtedly become a classic in its own right. Schneiders engages some of the most pressing questions which have haunted biblical interpreters - academics, ministers, diverse kinds of believers - since the Enlightenment. As usual, Dr. Schneiders' exposition is coherent, carefully organized and, because of its brilliant clarity, accessible to scholars and non-scholars alike.
Alice Laffey, Professor, Department of Religious Studies, College of the Holy Cross

Once again Sandra Schneiders has brought her creative and critical insights to bear on the hermeneutical question and has produced a text of great clarity. Her book challenges its readers not only intellectually but as Christian believers. It will not only advance the current dialogue on biblical interpretation but will be a sourcebook for the study of spirituality as well.
Mary Milligan, R.S.H.M., Professor of Spirituality, Loyola Marymount University

. . . the major value . . . is how it weds the academic and religious, doing justice to each.
Edgar V. McKnight, Research Professor and William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor Emeritus of Religion, Furman University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814659434
  • Publisher: Liturgical Press, The
  • Publication date: 7/28/1999
  • Edition description: Second Edition,New Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 248
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Sandra M. Schneiders, IHM, is professor emerita in the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. Her many books include her trilogy Religious Life in a New Millennium, Written That You May Believe: Encountering Jesus in the Fourth Gospel; and, from Liturgical Press, The Revelatory Text: Interpreting the New Testament as Sacred Scripture.
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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 4, 2008

    Revelatory, but revealed?

    This is a good introduction to the many problems inherent in modern biblical hermeneutics. I think Schneiders treatment of the places of difficulty is outstanding. Further, I believe that her introduction of the sacramental analogy is a good beginning. However, it is lamentable that she does not have a Catholic understanding of sacraments. A sacrament is a outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace. She would not disagree. But, it is also Church teaching that the signs signify what they contain, and contain what they signify. In other words, the bible is the sacrament of the word of God, that confers upon the reader the thoughts of God, his very revelation but, it also is that revelation, it also is the Word of God. A sacramental sign is the thing it signifies but under the form of sign. Therefore, her notion of the bible as a sacrament could greatly be augmented by shoring up her inadequacies in the realm of sacramental theology. Doing this would also answer her questions of inspiration and inerrancy. With all of these problems, the book is still quite useful in guiding the reader into the many muddy waters of understanding the Bible.

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