In this new edition of her major study of the New Testament, Sandra Schneiders proposes a comprehensive hermeneutical theory for New Testament interpretation, which takes full account of the Bible as both sacred Scripture and as a historical-literary classic. Designed to spur reflection on the role of Scripture as revelatory text in the life of the Church and in the lives of individual believers, The Revelatory Text shows that an integral hermeneutical theory can ground a transformational hermeneutical praxis to make the biblical text available as a faith resource to the oppressed as well as to the privileged.
Schneiders investigates the meaning of the theological claim that the Bible is the "Word of God" and the "Church's book," along with the implications of these claims for biblical interpretation. She then examines the historical, literary, and religious-spiritual dimensions of the New Testament, highlighting the implications for interpretation theory and methodology, and concludes by putting her theory to the test in a feminist interpretation of John 4.
The author argues that the comprehensive object of biblical interpretation is not merely information but transformation. She suggests that an adequate hermeneutical theory must include a wide range of exegetical and critical methods within a theologically and philosophically adequate understanding of Scripture as sacred text. She writes specifically to educated believers who wonder how sound biblical criticism can be incorporated into a faith- filled reading of the New Testament; biblical scholars who struggle with the question of whether or how faith can function legitimately in biblical scholarship; and those whose task it is to teach and preach the faith that looks to the New Testament as source and norm.
Chapters are "The Problem and Project of New Testament Interpretation," "The New Testament as Word of God," "The New Testament as the Church's Book," "The World Behind the Test: History, Imagination, and the Revelatory Text," "The World of the Text: Witness, Language, and the Revelatory Text," "The World Before the Text: Meaning, Appropriation, and the Revelatory Text," and "A Case Study: Feminist Interpretation of John 4:1- 42."
Sandra M. Schneiders, IHM, is professor of New Testament studies and Christian spirituality at the Jesuit School of Theology and the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California.