The Globalization Of Hermeneutics -- By: Craig L. Blomberg

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 38:4 (Dec 1995)
Article: The Globalization Of Hermeneutics
Author: Craig L. Blomberg

The Globalization Of Hermeneutics

Craig L. Blomberg*

It was my first year of doctoral studies, and I found myself sharing a small office with a Singaporean. Somehow we had gotten into a discussion of cultural differences. He was describing the old Chinese tradition of newlyweds living with in-laws. I remarked that it was hard for me to imagine living that way. After all, didn’t the Bible teach that “a man shall leave his father and mother”? Courteously but pointedly he reminded me that extended families more often than not lived together in Biblical times, so that his culture was closer to the Biblical practice in this respect than mine was. 1 I had not learned the term yet, but I had experienced a classic example of a lesson in the “globalization” of Biblical hermeneutics.

Globalization as a topic in North American theological education has become a prominent issue at least since Don Browning’s Association of Theological Schools address in 1986. 2 More than seventy seminaries or graduate schools of theology on this continent have participated in various programs relating to the topic. Perhaps the most ambitious of these has been the Hartford-based Plowshares program of international travel, cross-cultural immersions and theological reflection, which has produced an extensive collection of essays edited by Alice F. Evans, Robert A. Evans and David A. Roozen. 3 Among systematic theologians, the anthology of two-thirds-world evangelical studies edited by William Dyrness stands out. 4

But the concern far outstrips the world of theological education. For example, a relatively new academic journal was designed in part to address concerns of globalization, and its inaugural fascicle included several articles about globalizing hermeneutics. 5 Similar concerns have regularly surfaced at the relatively new annual SBL/AAR consultations entitled “The Bible in Asia, Africa and Latin America.”

* Craig Blomberg is professor of New Testament at Denver Conservative Baptist Seminary, P.O. Box 10,000, Denver, CO 80250.

So what is globalization? To a large degree it depends on whom you ask, but it seems to me that five topics consistently recur with greater frequency than any others: liberation theology, feminism, economics, religious pluralism, and the contextualization of the gospel. I have recently addressed each of these briefly in light of the relevant Biblical data, so I shall not repeat myself here....

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