How does William come to place ”˜judgement’ in such a significant position?
The answer, as Williams painstakingly works it out in a number of studies, is hermeneutical. Williams largely accepts that almost two centuries of historical-critical work on the text of the Bible have made reading scripture as a seamless unity hopelessly naÃ¯ve. However, this is not a cause for dismay as far as Williams is concerned. Contrary to those older liberal voices who would see the authority of scripture as greatly diminished by historical criticism of the Bible, Williams actually sees the authority and significance of scripture as found in the diverse, inchoate and evidently worked-on text. The phenomenon of scripture always incorporated within its boundaries a plurality of voices and indeed a plurality of perspectives. The historical criticism has only revealed what was in fact always the case: that the New Testament is the record of the first awed, stumbling responses to an encounter with Jesus of Nazareth. We should not expect consistency; in fact, we should be delighted not to find it, because their inarticulacy and disagreements give us hope that our meagre efforts at talking about God are not ultimately futile, whatever their inadequacy.