Saturday, May 06, 2023

Fanciful history and Dubious Hermeneutics: A review of Craig Carter's Interpreting Scripture with the Great Tradition

Craig Carter is one of the foremost proponents of the ressourcement happening in current Reformed and Evangelical circles. His books on the subject have been promoted as showing us the way forward towards embracing Classical Theism and 'Great Tradition' exegesis. I have finally gotten around to review his book on exegesis, and it has been a real doozy. Here is my review of Craig Carter's book Interpreting Scripture with the Great Tradition: Recovering the Genius of Premodern Exegesis, laid out in three main sections interacting with his narrative of church history, his idea of "Christian Platonism" or "Ur-Platonism," and his hermeneutics or embrace of the medieval Quadriga. An excerpt:

How does one interpret the Scriptures? In Craig Carter’s view, the correct way to interpret the Scriptures is to read them the “premodern” way. Taking us on a tour through the history of exegesis, as retold by Carter, we are told a history of the rise and fall of good exegesis. There was a ‘golden age’ of premodern exegesis based upon ‘Christian Platonism,’ which at the advent of the Enlightenment caused the downfall of this glorious age of exegesis into the broken shards of unbelieving scholarship. The way back is to recover the ‘Great Tradition’ based upon ‘Christian Platonism,’ and in so doing we learn how to interpret Scripture alright. In Carter’s words, “academic theory needs to be reformed according to church practice when it comes to biblical interpretation.”


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