Jacob L. Goodson
As the General Editor of this journal, I am pleased to present the Society of Scriptural Reasoning—and our broader readership—with an issue as diverse as this one. This represents our second attempt to publish a non-thematic issue. In addition to offering the most recent reflections on the practice of Scriptural Reasoning, this issue also presents sections called “Theories of Scripture,” “Aesthetics and Ethics in the Pentateuch,” and “Philosophical Theology and Religious Philosophy.” With an additional three book reviews, this issue offers fourteen articles in all.
Stemming from a Scriptural Reasoning University meeting in the summer of 2014, the first section offers three reflections on the practice of Scriptural Reasoning. In “Scriptural Reasoning as Communal Thinking,” Mark James examines the “reasoning” aspect of Scriptural Reasoning in terms of the communal forms of rationality that arise from the practice. Building on insights from Immanuel Kant’s transcendental logic, Randi Rashkover considers what might happen if Scriptural Reasoners started moving from textual analysis to a general mode of inquiry based on the method and practice of Scriptural Reasoning. In “Scriptural Reasoning and the Academy: The Uses and Disadvantages of Expertise and Impartiality,” Daniel Weiss concludes that Scriptural Reasoners ought to become more aware of how academic training determines dispositions and ways of reasoning while practicing Scriptural Reasoning. We welcome submissions that provide critical responses to these three reflections.
In the section “Theories of Scripture,” readers gain insights into how current scholarship impacts the ways in which we think about “Scripture.” Both of these essays were presented at the Mid-Atlantic regional meeting of the American Academy of Religion (MAR-AAR)—one in 2013 and the other in 2017—and received good feedback in those meetings. Claire Partlow reflects upon what it means for Scripture to move forward within the Christian tradition, and Christian scholars can use her essay as a framework for practicing Textual Reasoning. Jordan Brady Loewen thinks through the category of Scripture on the philosophical terms of cognition and embodiment and the medical terms of digestion and metabolism.
The third section, “Aesthetics and Ethics in the Pentateuch,” brings together four essays that were invited by and/or submitted to this journal quite some time ago, yet they never quite fit with one of the themes of our previously published issues. Mostly written from philosophical perspectives, they each approach a passage or theme found within the Pentateuch from the perspective of aesthetics or ethics. They are not ordered in any particular way, but they would be helpful for a Scriptural Reasoning session studying a passage of Scripture addressed by the authors: Morgan Alyssa Elbot on the dietary laws in Leviticus, Lindsey Graber on Eve’s character in Genesis 3, and Abigail Woolley on the economic significance of the command to take Sabbath.
In the section “Philosophical Theology and Religious Philosophy,” readers learn of some current debates within these fields. I connect Immanuel Kant’s transcendental idealism with George Lindbeck’s postliberal theology. Daniel Herskowitz explains how existentialist philosophers (Martin Heidegger and Søren Kierkegaard) offer us theological approaches to the question of time. David O’Hara presents a more explicitly religious side of Charles Sanders Peirce’s philosophy by outlining Peirce’s view of prayer.
The first book review is an appropriate follow-up to O’Hara’s essay because it analyzes the most recent publication about Peirce’s philosophy: Gary Slater’s C. S. Peirce and the Nested Continua Model of Religious Interpretation (Oxford University Press). Brandon Daniel-Hughes informs Scriptural Reasoners how Slater’s book reads Peirce’s philosophy through the lenses of Robert Neville’s and Peter Ochs’s scholarship. I think it quite significant that this issue gives so much attention to Kant’s and Peirce’s philosophies.
In addition to her essay on how Scripture moves forward into the Christian tradition, Partlow also explains the historiographical points at stake in W. E. L. Broad’s Alexander or Jesus?: The Origin of the Title “Son of God.” Lastly, Glenn E. Sanders offers an appreciative introduction to and reflection upon Bruce W. Longenecker’s Hitler, Jesus, and Our Common Humanity: A Jewish Survivor Interprets Life, History, and the Gospels. Both of these books were published by imprints of Wipf & Stock Publishers.