Gadamer, Barth, and Transcendence in Biblical Interpretation

European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 13 (4) (2022)
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The essay reflects on how Hans-Georg Gadamer and Karl Barth view interpretation of the Christian Bible. It proceeds in three main sections. The first contends that Gadamer secularizes Christian theology, and that this has drawbacks for the sort of reading his hermeneutic can give to Christian Scripture. The second part turns to Barth, arguing that the whole structure of his approach to the Bible factors in theological commitment, with benefits for the readings he can deliver. The final part makes a case that contemporary reflection on interpretation can nonetheless glean important insights from Gadamer, especially regarding the readerly reception of texts, because his perspective has a certain sort of richness that Barth’s cannot match. The overall suggestion emerging from the interrogation of these two thinkers is that phenomenology and theology might learn from one another, that they each contribute something valuable to discussions of biblical interpretation.

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Darren Sarisky
Oxford University


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