Canon and Catholicity
199 pages, 5.50 x 8.50 in
- Published: August 2020
In an essay on Biblical Theology published in 1982, Paul Beauchamp points out a "striking convergence" between a prominent Roman Catholic scholar of the period, Roland de Vaux, and the leading Protestant Old Testament theologian of the day, Gerhard von Rad. Both saw looming on the horizon the need for a Biblical Theology in which both Testaments were taken seriously as part of a single, comprehensive theological reflection. There was genuine excitement at the prospect of the methods of tradition-historical reading, already harnessed by von Rad toward a specifically theological goal, turning now to a Biblical Theology proper. Where did that project and the excitement go?
With Convergences, Christopher Seitz returns to the period in question. In the later work of von Rad and Martin Noth, Seitz identifies the clear foreshadowing of what would become "canonical interpretation" reflected especially in the work of Brevard Childs. Seitz further reveals that the work of Beauchamp, largely unknown in the Anglophone world, would ultimately line up with Childs in a great many areas (typology, concern with the final form, appreciation for the history of biblical interpretation before the modern era). These scholars reached common shores by distinctive routes and via different interlocutors.
Convergences displays such lines of connection and how they spill over from the academy into the interests of the church, including Roman Catholic understandings of the place of Scripture since the mid-twentieth century. Seitz studies the emergence of the lectionary conception, the ressourcement movement, and non-Catholic interest in the prior history of interpretation and figural reading. Convergences maintains that much of what was accomplished in a hopeful coalescence around the canonical form of Scripture remains relevant for biblical interpretation in our present period. Here, we find a form of "catholicity" that offers hope and promise for our day in spite of cultural, ecclesial, and academic distinctives.
1 Diachronic Legacy and Complementary Reading
2 Intent and Inspiration
3 Typology and Figuration
4 Biblical Theology
5 Wisdom, Creation, Ontology
6 Roman Catholic Hermeneutics and Canon
7 Common Text Convergence
In this wide-ranging monograph, Christopher Seitz continues his recent series of probing reflections on the nature of scripture and its relationship to the academy and the church. His perceptive account of ‘convergences’ between the canonical approach of Brevard S. Childs and other scholarly and ecclesial voices of the past fifty years is sure to stimulate both further debate and much fruitful scholarship. Particularly illuminating is Seitz’ retrieval of overlooked aspects of the later work of Gerhard von Rad and Martin Noth, French biblical scholarship, and the documents and lectionary revisions arising from the second Vatican Council. Seitz brings all of this together in a spirited argument for a biblical theology that does justice to critical scholarship, canonical form, and the history of the Bible’s interpretation in the church.~Harry P. Nasuti, Professor of Theology, Fordham University
Seitz sets off on a new adventure, delving deep into the world of French Catholic biblical scholarship. He compares the canonical approach of his great mentor Brevard Childs with that of Childs’s French contemporary, Paul Beauchamp. His purpose is twofold: to argue that the traditioning of Scripture must extend beyond the members of any one particular church, and to show how the canonical approach arises from the labor of learning to read biblical texts diachronically. Through this ecumenical adventure in the world of French ressourcement, Seitz solidifies the stature of canonical interpretation and his own stature as its most constructive and creative living practitioner."~Matthew Levering, James N. and Mary D. Perry Jr. Chair of Theology, Mundelein Seminary
In this brilliant and lively book, Christopher Seitz shows how the ways we read the Bible display what we understand by the very idea of the Church. As members of Christ’s Body, we are never reading scripture for the first time and never reading it alone. A vigorous theology of living tradition is an essential part of seeing Scripture as Scripture; and we are helped here to see how this works itself out in some finely wrought reflections on liturgical preaching. A treasury of insight.~Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury
Seitz is among the most vibrant voices in Biblical theology. In this book, he engages recent thinking about the Bible in French Catholic circles and observes some remarkable convergences with the canonical method associated with Childs. Along the way, he makes some astute observations about the ecumenical possibilities that this convergence might portend. Highly recommended!~Gary A. Anderson, Hesburgh Professor of Catholic Thought, University of Notre Dame
In this remarkably broadly envisioned book, the landscape from which the streams Christopher Seitz discerns and explores bubble up, flow, and converge is comprehensively named biblical theology. This convergent stream that nourishes Biblical Theology flows directly into the church as Seitz shows so well. Convergences is not just another carefully reasoned book, it is the lived experience of the church as it gathers in worship and hears the Word of God proclaimed.~Robert B. Robinson, Emeritus Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew, United Lutheran Seminary