William Abraham’s genealogy of biblical criticism

The rise of biblical theology was a pivotal development within Western Christian theology. It did not arise merely because we wanted a proper reading of scripture; it arose because Christian systematic theology had gotten itself into a mess after the Reformation and had therefore invented biblical theology to get out of that mess. Systematic theologians had come to develop a very particular epistemology of theology as a way of resolving first-order disagreement. Their hope was that if they could only deploy the right method of justification for beliefs then they could settle their disputes; disputes that had reached the point of death for the protagonists. The favored epistemology was simple: turn to scripture as the crucial if not sole warrant for theology and then we will find the answers we need. Hence the creation of biblical theology as the foundation of all theology was a kind of accident waiting to happen in the bosom of Western Christian theology.

from The Bible: Beyond the Impasse, (Highland Loch, 2012), 36-37.

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