What are the implications for interpreting the Christian Bible of having a religious faith commitment? A new book by Trinity academic Darren Sarisky, Departmental Lecturer in Modern Theology, explores this question in depth.
The Christian Bible is the best-selling book of all time and can be read in many ways: as a formative cultural influence; as a reference point for literary texts and a key to understanding much of English literature; as an historical document in the founding of both Jewish and Christian traditions; and as a work directly addressing the Christian faithful in shaping religious practice.
Dr Sarisky’s book, Reading the Bible Theologically, addresses the role of faith in interpretation, asking what happens to the practice of reading when interpretation proceeds on the basis of a faith commitment to the Christian religion. If faith has an influence on reading, what exactly is the nature of this influence? And does this influence count as a problem, a matter of lazily reading into the text a set of preconceived opinions and religious allegiance? Or can the influence of faith be thought of in more positive terms? The book draws on discussions by Augustine and Spinoza, among others, to place the question of theological reading historically and in the context of more recent debates.
Dr Sarisky proposes that the most important contribution faith makes to reading, for those who interpret the text with such a commitment, is that it sheds new light on what the text of Scripture is and who the reader is. He argues that what faith does first and foremost is that it generates a whole new perspective on the interpreted object (the Bible) and the interpreting subject (the reader).
The publication is the result of research undertaken as part of a Junior Research Fellowship at Cambridge University and is published by Cambridge University Press.