Sharper Than a Two-Edged Sword consists of various essays from well-known contributors: Thomas Briedenthal (Bishop of Southern Ohio), Ellen Davis (Episcopalian), Amy Plantinga Pauw (Presbyterian), Richard Hays (Methodist), Robert Jenson (Lutheran) and Roman Catholics James Buckley, R.R. Reno, and Michael Root. The chapters were given as papers at a conference at Duke Divinity School, sponsored by the Center for Catholic and Evangelical Theology, in 2006. They were directed to pastors and students, and the level is general and accessible. Three contributions deal directly with preaching and teaching the Bible in church and the role of the laity. The others speak more generally to the theme of theological interpretation. The book is a compact illustration of certain trends in theological reading, with an emphasis on practice.
All in all, these three works would be good additions to a library for those wanting to hear more about the theological interpretation of Scripture. They reflect the variety of ecclesial voices now looking at the task of Christian interpretation of Scripture, from a fresh direction. I would welcome further clarity on appeal to the “Rule of Faith” that frequently arises, and more precision on its place in the early Church, especially in respect of the Old Testament. Also, the legacy of historical-critical questions remains a crucial ingredient in any effort to read the Bible in our day. The question is just what legacy that represents and how it can best be integrated in the light of proper concern to hear the earlier history of interpretation and the particularities of the community of Christian readers, now and in the past.
Read it all.