The Drama of Theology

Hermeneutics of the Bible, Theology as Drama, and the Drama of Salvation

Along with the Consortium for a Biblically-Renewed Theology (AfbeT), the Theological Seminary Chrischona, the Independent Theological University of Basel, and the Study Centre for Faith and Society organized a three-day conference on ‘The Drama of Theology’. Our keynote speaker was Professor Kevin Vanhoozer who spoke on hermeneutics.

What constitutes good biblical hermeneutics? He expounded on a trinitarian hermeneutic and the issue of whether the authority of  Scripture can create unity in the Church, especially given the fragmentation of Protestantism. What made this day rich and rewarding were not only Vanhoozer’s talks, but also the ensuing discussions. A panel comprised of Professor Ulrich Luz, Professor Benjamin Schliesser and Professor Rainer Hirsch-Luipold both challenged and confirmed Vanhoozer’s insights.

More than 60 people attended the conference, a number which exceeded our expectations by far. The fact that the conference attracted wide interest confirms once more the relevance and need of good hermeneutics.

Von links: Prof. Hirsch-Luipold, Prof. em. Luz, Prof. Vanhoozer, Prof. Schumacher, Dr. Dürr, Prof. Schliesser

Vanhoozer looks at the world of the Scripture and the world above and below the Scripture. According to Vanhoozer, the world in which the Scripture is embedded shows deeply trinitarian structures that become visible within communication processes. The world of the Scripture itself must be thought along with the Text and has to do deeply with life. The life of the recipient is changed by the Scripture through a performative interpretation of the Text. For Vanhoozer, the point is for the reader to enter into the theodrama (of which the Scripture testifies) and to live out this drama in interpretative creativity.

In his second lecture Vanhoozer dealt with the question of the interpretation of the Bible after the Reformation. He emphasized that the Four Solis (solus Christ, sola gratia, sola scriptura and sola fide)

must by no means be seen exclusively, but that these form a hermeneutical framework in which a successful interpretation of the Bible can take place. Moreover, sola scriptura in no way means the renunciation of a reading community which interprets this Scripture together. Holy Scripture is an authority, but not the only one.

After Vanhoozer's lectures, there was the opportunity to further deepen what had been heard in one of three seminars and to discuss Vanhoozer's approach together. A panel discussion with Prof. Ulrich Luz, Prof. Benjamin Schliesser and Prof. Rainer Hirsch-Luipold, followed by an answer from Prof. Vanhoozer, rounded off the conference.