Jacob L. Goodson
College of William & Mary
This is the first issue of the Journal of Scriptural Reasoning that is not exclusively focused on one theme or topic. We are delighted to bring together such wonderful essays that pertain to several questions raised within and reflected upon by the community of inquiries who participate in Scriptural Reasoning. This issue consists of four sections: Scriptural Reasoning in the World; Covenant, Law, and Love; Parables and Moral Reasoning; and Book Reviews.
The two essays comprising “Scriptural Reasoning in the World” serve as reflective reports on how the practice of Scriptural Reasoning is working in Israel and Canada. More significantly, both essays highlight how Scriptural Reasoning nurtures healthy relationships within these contexts. Miriam Feldman Kaye and Nermeen Mouftah provide us “on the ground” accounts of Scriptural Reasoning in their respective settings.
In the second section of this issue, Tom Greggs addresses questions concerning Covenantal theology within the Abrahamic traditions, and Adam Seligman discusses the role of Law and Love in Scripture and English literature. Greggs writes from the perspective of an Evangelical Christian and makes a compelling case for why Christians ought to return to their Old Testament narratives when investigating the status of God’s Covenant with Ishmael. In short, Greggs challenges Christian stereotypes of Islam. Seligman compares and contrasts the significance of Law and Love in the Jewish Scriptures and William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice . With this examination, Seligman displays how Shakespeare’s writings help us reconsider old religious stereotypes concerning Law (Jewish) and Love (Christian). Therefore, in their different ways, both Greggs and Seligman push back on stereotypes found among and within the Abrahamic traditions.
The two essays within the section “Parables and Moral Reasoning” engage different interpretations of parables from the Gospel According to Luke (in the New Testament). In his essay, “Theatrical Samaritans: Performing Others in Luke 10:25-37,” Howard Pickett attends to the Parable of the Good Samaritan and provides a comprehensive account of the pre-modern and modern interpretations of this parable. He also considers how this parable gets employed in American pop culture. Pickett turns toward Emanuel Levinas’ philosophical ethics as a way to negotiate the multiple interpretations (and popular applications) of this particular parable. In his essay, “Just War and Statecraft in Paul Ramsey’s Reading of Luke 14:28-33,” Adam Hollowell focuses exclusively on Paul Ramsey’s interpretations of the parable, often called “Counting the Costs.” Ramsey was a Christian ethicist, mostly known for his just war reasoning, who spent much of his career teaching at Princeton University. Hollowell discusses why Ramsey found this particular parable so compelling within his (Ramsey’s) reflections on statecraft. On the terms of scriptural reasoning, Hollowell provides a critical and helpful analysis of how Ramsey interpreted “Counting the Costs.” Versions of both of these essays were presented at the Mid-Atlantic AAR Regional Meeting in New Brunswick, New Jersey, in March 2011.
The final section of this issue includes reviews of two recent books: Barry Harvey’s Can These Bones Live? and a collection of essays gathered under the title Fields of Faith: Theology and Religious Studies for the Twenty-first Century. Both books engage the methods and practice of Scriptural Reasoning. This is our second issue that includes a section of Book Reviews. We still seek reviewers in order to continue offering constructive responses to books that are of interest to the Society of Scriptural Reasoning.