Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Wright on Critical Tools

This quote from NT Wright is a useful description of what happened with Biblical criticism in the hands of the rationalists and the subsequent subversion of their intentions through the adoption of critical tools in the service of the church. It's exactly the kind of reversal that you expect Jesus the Christ to accomplish for his Kingdom - a Damascus Road for criticism!
The Enlightenment, which stands at the start of the story chronicled in this book, has not in fact achieved what it sought. It wanted to throw off the shackles of authoritarian Christianity, and developed historical tools for the purpose: but the Church has taken up those tools and used them, despite their not being exactly designed for the task, in the service of its theology and proclamation. A tribute is due to the resilience of the New Testament, and of the church's belief in its authority, which not only has been maintained in some form or other despite attacks, but has actually made the constant and not always unsuccessful attempt to turn the attackers' weapons to its own use.
Neill & Wright, The Interpretation of the NT, 444