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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

The Multivalence of Biblical Texts and Theological Meanings
Helmer, Christine, editor

Atlanta/Leiden: Society of Biblical Literature/Brill, 2006 pp. xii + 199. $24.95/$124.00

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Description: This important interdisciplinary collection, a sequel to the collection of essays in Biblical Interpretation: History, Context, and Reality, builds upon the latter work by exploring the relations between biblical texts and questions of the historical and metaphysical realities that play into the interpretation of these texts. This volume tailors the hermeneutical question to the issue of how theological meaning is identified among a plurality of different meanings that the same text presents. The key biblical-theological problem addressed by this objective is twofold: the historical analysis of a plurality of meanings given by one text, and the relation between theological interpretation and the evolution of the text toward this theological determination. Too often theological meaning is regarded as an imposition of an ďalienĒ conceptuality rather than as a function of the text on at least one of its layers. Furthermore, theological interpretation tends to isolate one layer of meaning as the truth of the text without regarding the resonance of other layers in its interpretation. The essays in The Multivalence of Biblical Texts and Theological Meanings show how the theological perspective can account for the historical and semantic diversity of a text while also giving reasons for the selection of one layer as significant for making a theological claim. Theological interpretation is formed by an engagement with the historical perspective, while historical plurality is intimately related to theological consideration.

Subjects: Bible, Literature, Methods, Theological Approaches, Biblical Theology

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Review by Christoph Stenschke
Published 1/19/2008
Citation: Christoph Stenschke, review of Christine Helmer, ed., The Multivalence of Biblical Texts and Theological Meanings, Review of Biblical Literature [] (2008).

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