The Globalization Of Biblical Interpretation: A Test Case John 3-4 -- By: Craig L. Blomberg

Journal: Bulletin for Biblical Research
Volume: BBR 05:1 (NA 1995)
Article: The Globalization Of Biblical Interpretation: A Test Case John 3-4
Author: Craig L. Blomberg


The Globalization Of Biblical Interpretation: A Test Case John 3-4

Craig L. Blomberg

Denver Seminary

The globalization of hermeneutics has generated recent, intense debate. One useful definition views it as the process of asking new questions of the text, particularly in light of the experiences of marginalization of a large percentage of the world’s population. John 3-4 and its dialogues between Jesus and the contrasting characters of Nicodemus and the Samaritan woman offer a fruitful test case of this process. Striking inversions of contemporary expectations about their roles result. Interesting answers emerge from raising questions of liberation theology, feminism, politics and religious pluralism. Metacriticism, however, must move us beyond these more parochial, though often overlooked, concerns. Ultimately John subordinates both characters to his focus on the significance of Jesus.

Key Words: globalization, hermeneutics, John, Nicodemus, Samaritans

Particularly since Don Browning’s pioneering work in 1986, “globalization” has become a prominent term in biblical hermeneutics.1 Students of scripture for a slightly longer time, of course, have realized that traditional historical-critical interpretation has been disproportionately Eurocentric and androcentric, and various new methodologies have been developed to try to correct this imbalance. Now, however, we are seeing a spate of studies explicitly in the name of globalization: the initial issue of a new international journal on hermeneutics,2 two entire fascicles of the journal of the Association of Theological Schools,3 and perhaps most importantly, a major

monograph on the globalization of theological education, complete with theological essays, case studies, and interpretive commentaries, edited by staff members of the Hartford-based Plowshares International organization.4 That organization itself has worked within the rubrics of the ATS and the SBL not only to internationalize biblical and theological scholarship through the contributions of underrepresented constituencies but also to take theological educators on intensive Third World immersions to meet with religious, political and business leaders as well as members of grass-roots, impoverished communities. In so doing North Americans experience firsthand the issues of globalization which face a majority of the world daily but which are often marginalized in the North American scholarly ...

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