Postmodernism, Hermeneutics, and the Future of Theology

The current interest in postmodernism, the emerging church, and the question of truth [as important as these issues are] should not distract the church from the larger task of actually doing and living theology.  We must be about the constructive task of reading and living the gospel for our own moment. 

A work that I have found helpful toward this end, but which seems to have been largely neglected, is Jens Zimmermann's  Recovering Theological Hermeneutics.  The subtitle is An Incarnational-Trinitarian Theory of Interpretation.  Given my interest in a Christ centered Trinitarian theology, the title alone had my undivided attention.  The book was not disappointing. 

He concludes, "Complemented by the doctrine of the Trinity, incarnational theology offers an ontology that places being-in-community at the heart of reality and gives ethical transcendence definite contours in the divine kenotic and redemptive events of cross and resurrection" (p. 318).   Here is meat to chew on.

The community and ethical focus resonates with me:  "Selfhood is understood as person in relation, a subjectivity that neither begins with, nor is defined as, solitary, independent consciousness but is brought to life by the call of the other….I have argued that this call is possible only as the electing call of God in Christ, by which we gain an identity that is sustained not by us but by concrete hermeneutical appropriation in community through word and sacrament" (319).  This naturally needs careful unpacking and that is what the book is all about.  I trust this wets the appetite.

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3 thoughts on “Postmodernism, Hermeneutics, and the Future of Theology

  1. It does whet the appetite -thanks. Discussion of pomo/emergent issues is often just that: the issue, and in the throes of that, focus can narrow, rather than encompass the larger unified body of Christ, called to live and give the gospel in daily life.

  2. I recently came across this brief gem by Poythress on why we must understand the Bible in a Trinitarian manner, and I thought you would be intrigued, given your “interest in a Christ centered Trinitarian theology”….

    It is amazing to me how experiential the trinity is even for reading the Bible. My favorite quote from the article referenced above is this:

    Second, consider the role of the Son. Because of human sin, we are separated from God and would die if we stood in his presence (remember Exod. 33:20). But receiving the word of God involves receiving his presence. We would die reading Scripture except for the mediation of the Son. Through Son we receive knowledge of God without dying.

    Wow, that’s powerful trinitarian-human interaction!

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