Scripture as Performance

During my absence over Lent, a couple of guest posts of mine on the subject of Scripture were posted over on A Borrowed Flame. They give a rough sketch of some thoughts on a different way to approach and think of Scripture.

The image of God as author completing his book, ceasing his writing work, and entrusting it to publishers and interpreters is one that exerts a strong hold upon us. Surely, we think, this is what must be implied by the idea of the closing of the canon, for instance. The divine revelation was completed almost two thousand years ago and now we have the task of interpretation of what the Bible meant in the context in which God revealed it and application, wherein we identify the implications of the text for us today. Revelation belongs entirely to the past. We must interpret the meaning of what God said to people in radically different contexts millennia ago in order to think about what he might say to us today, were he still speaking.

This picture, I submit, is neither the most helpful, nor is it the most appropriate to the sort of thing that Scripture is. For Scripture is a text that was written to be performed.

Read the first part here.

An important biblical metaphor for our relationship with Scripture is that of ingestion. Scripture is something on which we ruminate and with which we are fed and edified. Scripture is something that can be hard to swallow or chew. It can burn our insides, as it did the prophet. It can feel bitter like the swallowed book of John in Revelation. Scripture is something outside of us that we must continually feed upon in order to live. As we digest it, it becomes part of us, but never in a way that negates our continued dependence upon it, or its otherness from us.

The reception of the Word is consummated as the reception of Christ himself, the one in whom they are fulfilled. In the sacrament, which is a performance of the Word (in the undiluted ambivalence of that expression), the reception of Christ as the Word and Bread of God is disclosed in our bodies, and through feeding on him our bodies as the communing Church are realized as word.

Read the second part here.

About Alastair Roberts

Alastair Roberts (PhD, Durham University) writes in the areas of biblical theology and ethics, but frequently trespasses beyond these bounds. He participates in the weekly Mere Fidelity podcast, blogs at Alastair’s Adversaria, and tweets at @zugzwanged.
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1 Response to Scripture as Performance

  1. Pingback: Ten Years of Blogging: 2011-2012 | Alastair's Adversaria

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