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Uniting History and Theology


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Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Revisiting German Historicism 2. Christian Reflection in the Shadow of Ranke 3. The Construction of History 4. The Theological Interpretation of History

About the Author

Seth Heringer is assistant professor of theology and scripture at Toccoa Falls College.


Uniting History and Theology is based on an impressive reading of texts from both theology and philosophy of history. . . . Heringer reflects a noteworthy scholarly sentiment-which I welcome-that challenges the prevailing reductionistic and naturalistic orthodoxies of the academy. Philosophical theologians Paul Tyson and Michael Hanby, for example, are advancing sophisticated arguments that in some ways parallel Heringer's overall approach. Academic history does not exhaust what can be meaningfully said about the past. And we need a thoughtful theological interpretation of history that embraces the strangeness and messiness of a past and acknowledges that "the transcendent has indeed broken into time." In pointing the way for this, Heringer should be commended. * Reading Religion *
Uniting History and Theology adds to a growing body of scholarship that is critical of historical-critical method as conventionally applied in Biblical studies. Dr Heringer contributes to the debate, not only through a clear exposition of the problems with the method, but also by charting constructive ways forward in dialogue with recent developments in historiography, and by helping us to think Christianly once more about what history is. This book is an excellent contribution to a vitally important debate about how we are to read the Bible well. -- Murray Rae, Senior Lecturer in Theology, University of Otago, New Zealand
There is no pure historical method. There are just different views about how to read and understand the Bible, all of which are theological in some sense. The contribution of Heringer's work is to help us see how this is true in the case of some of the most important voices in the construction of historical method as applied to the Bible. He engages Troeltsch, Ranke, Frei, Kahler, Pannenberg and Wright, and offers a constructive theological proposal for the interpretation of history. This is a clear, and compelling case for a thoroughly theological approach to historical method. Highly recommended. -- Oliver D. Crisp, Fuller Theological Seminary
Uniting History and Theology takes aim at the Goliath whose shadow has loomed large over the land of biblical studies for two and a half centuries: the historical method. Heringer critically examines the roots of historicism and its philosophical assumptions, then slings five rough stones (what he calls "cairns") in an attempt to slay the giant (methodological naturalism). This is a call not to abandon the quest for historical reality but to pursue it with distinctly Christian convictions and faith in the unified story of God's steadfast love that holds Scripture together and gives history its theological coherence. -- Kevin J. Vanhoozer, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Seth Heringer's Uniting History and Theology offers a bracing critique of the understanding of history that most biblical scholars still assume is the correct way to think and write. Heringer does not, however, offer a newer, better "universal" or "public" historiographical method. After an interesting deconstructive tour through key moderns and their "post" successors, Heringer guides his readers through a series of reflections that are meant to reestablish a robust Christian understanding of history and its retelling. This book is worthy reading not only for its contribution to Christian reflection on history but also for its insightful treatment of many of the deeper problems that still bedevil biblical studies. -- C. Kavin Rowe, Duke Divinity School

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