As I pointed out in a previous post, there are a number of bloggers who read biblical texts in full awareness of the first historical contexts in which they were read but who are also interested in pursuing interpretation of the text that does a measure of justice to the reception the texts received in later tradition.
The approach, sometimes referred to as canonical exegesis in the sense that Brevard Childs conceived of it, is symptomatic of a seismic shift that is underway in the field of biblical studies. Bloggers with a demonstrated interest in exegesis of this kind include: Phil Sumpter (here), Stephen (aka Q) (here), Daniel Driver (three posts just in October, but be sure to read this and browse through this), Kevin Wilson (here), Stephen Cook (here), and Frank Logue (here); a commenter extraordinaire, John Poirier (see Phil’s blog), also deserves mention.
The masthead of Stephen’s blog contains food for thought: “our deepest obedience cannot be to an absolute norm but to the biblical texts themselves. The texts constantly disturb and disorient us. We are never permitted to settle on a final interpretation. We must forever return to Sinai, to interpret and reinterpret the biblical texts anew.” Stephen is channeling here – and improving on! – statements by Walter Brueggeman.
Returning to Sinai, however, is something Jewish exegesis has been doing for millennia. My basic beef with canonical exegesis as practiced by Christians is that the Jewish exegetical tradition is rarely integrated into the discussion of the text’s traditional reception. It is often overlooked altogether. As a corrective thereto, the canonical exegesis of Michael Fishbane in his Haftarot commentary deserves a very close look. Fishbane’s engages in a form of liturgical hermeneutics that is attentive to the sensus literalis as defined by an Enlightenment hermeneutic and to the tradition of interpretation which is sometimes anything but. This review by Benjamin Sommer makes the same points in greater detail.