Archive for August 7th, 2009

SBL 2009 (3) Missional Hermeneutics

Friday, August 7th, 2009

One of the most exciting developments in the theological interpretation of Scripture is missional hermeneutics, intrepretation in which the mission of the Church is the primary concern. GOCN, The Gospel and Our Culture Network, has been leading the charge in this field, and they have now gained affiliate status with AAR and SBL.

At SBL this year, GOCN will host a session, described as follows (links to the paper abstracts are given):

GOCN Forum on Missional Hermeneutics
Sat., 11/21/2009
1:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Room: Room TBD – Hotel TBD
Theme: Missional Readings of Paul’s Letter to the Philippians
Through paper presentations and group discussion, the Forum will explore Paul’s letter to the Philippians in view of the missio Dei and the way the letter calls a people to participate in God’s mission to the creation, as well as questions about the community’s interpretive readings and the ways in which it relates the received tradition to a particular context.

George R. Hunsberger, Western Theological Seminary, Presiding

Michael Barram, Saint Mary’s College of California
Reflections on the Practice of Missional Hermeneutics: ‘Streaming’ Philippians 1:20-30 (20 min)

James C. Miller, Asbury Theological Seminary
Mapping Philippians Missionally (20 min)

Stephen E. Fowl, Loyola College in Maryland, Respondent (15 min)
Discussion (15 min)

Michael J. Gorman, Saint Mary’s Seminary and University
The Apologetic and Missional Impulse of Philippians 2:6-11 in the Context of the Letter (20 min)

Rob Elkington, First Baptist Church, Whitby, Canada
The Communal Mission of God and the Missional Community of Philippians (20 min)

Stephen E. Fowl, Loyola College in Maryland, Respondent (15 min)
Discussion (15 min)

The abstract of my paper follows:

“The Apologetic and Missional Impulse of Phil 2:6-11 in the Context of the Letter”

The rich poetic or hymnic text found in Phil 2:6-11 has been the subject of many diverse investigations and interpretations. This paper, taking a cue from John Reumann’s recent Yale Anchor Bible commentary on Philippians, argues that the hymn/poem, which is Paul’s master story, summarizes the gospel that Paul wants the Philippian assembly to (continue to) proclaim and (continue to) embody, in spite of opposition. In so doing, the Philippians will both hold forth and defend the basic Pauline claims about the crucified Jesus as the self-giving, life-giving Son of God and sovereign Lord, in fulfillment of Scripture and in contrast to Caesar. These claims have been vindicated by God in exalting Jesus, and they will soon be acknowledged by all creation. Paul’s words speak to the contemporary church about the coherent form and content of its missional life and message.

I am very much looking forward to this event and hope it draws a large crowd.