“Biblical Hermeneutics and Spiritual Interpretation: The Revelatory Presence of God in the Theology of Karl Barth,” Biblical Theology Bulletin: Quarterly Journal of Bible and Theology 37/3:120-131
Michael Dempsey, Division of Humanities, College of Professional Studies
Abstract: Modern methods of historical-critical and literary interpretation of scripture have secularized biblical interpretation by treating scripture as a strictly human text that can be understood by discerning the meaning of its many authors and redactors. In a similar way modern fundamentalist and patristic exegesis have also secularized biblical interpretation in that they assume that scripture itself is the Word of God, whose meaning is readily evident from the words on the page and no longer require the gracious gift of God’s action and presence to make its meaning manifest. This paper argues that Karl Barth’s theology of scripture provides the resources to revitalize biblical interpretation because Barth takes seriously the full humanity of the Bible and the need for historical interpretation while understanding that any interpretation of scripture’s transcendent subject matter requires the presence of God’s Word and Spirit to make its meaning understood and applied in the Church and world today.