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[Extract] The question of what theological exegesis is is a pressing issue at present – indeed several of the essays in this collection grapple with it. One way to specify the question is to re-articulate it in this way: what is the force of the modifier ‘theological’ in the phrase ‘theological interpretation of Scripture’? What work does theology perform in relation to interpretation of the Bible? Theological discourse must have some real efficacy in relation to interpretation in order for the language of ‘theological reading’ to have any meaning. The answer to the question of what theology does in relation to interpretation depends, in large part, on what theology is in the first place. John Webster’s inaugural address Theological Theology[1] prompts its readers to consider precisely what theology is by forcefully presenting a particular view of the subject. For Webster, theology aims for knowledge of God by attending to his self-revelation in Jesus Christ. In the lecture, Webster also explores what methods of inquiry are appropriate in light of this goal, what the implications of this are for theology’s institutional setting, and what could hamper theology’s pursuit of this goal, namely, capitulating to the demand that theological discourse be grounded in a general epistemology. This essay takes its cue from Theological Theology in a couple of ways. First, it asks a question that is formally similar to the query of what makes theology theological. The inquiry here is: what does it mean for interpretation of Scripture to be theological, or, more precisely, what is required in such an account? Second, this essay approaches the issue by thinking about theology’s relation to both biblical interpretation and history with the question of the nature of theology at least in the background and sometimes in the foreground.


Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry

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