Scripture and Ethics: Twentieth-Century Portraits By Jeffrey Siker
1996 | 305 Pages | ISBN: 0195110994 | PDF | 19 MB
New Testament scholar Jeffrey Siker has done a good service to both biblical scholars and theological ethics by examining the actual use of Scripture in eight of the most influential 20th C. Christian theologians writing on ethical issues. The student of Christian ethics is struck by some notable omissions (perhaps, most obviously, that of Walter Rauschenbusch), but no work can cover everyone and Siker's treatment invites similar investigations. He gives capsule summaries of the major works and themes of each of his exemplars before examining what biblical passages are regularly cited, how they are used, to what extent the theologian in question interacted with critical biblical scholarship, and the conclusions drawn. His comparisons and conclusions are insightful. As a Christian ethicist trained also in biblical studies, I noticed one conclusion of Siker's that was greatly affected by his choice of figures to examine. Siker notes that Christian theological ethics is seldom very informed by close interaction with New Testament scholarship and vice versa. He laments the narrow "turf" protection in academics that is largely responsible for this lack. While his conclusion and lament both seem accurate, there are a number of theological ethicists who are giving more attention to critical biblical scholarship and a number of biblical scholars giving increasing attention to ethical dimensions of the biblical materials. In both cases, these numbers appear to be growing, though they remain small.While not flawless, Siker's work is significant and is highly recommended.

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