The Soul’s Longing
The Soul’s Longing: An Orthodox Christian Perspective on Biblical Interpretation has as its main purpose to show the deep connection between spiritual life and biblical interpretation which is both inspiring and accurate. It also makes clear the powerful effect of the interpreter’s theology – especially the understanding of who Jesus Christ is – upon his or her method of biblical interpretation.
This is done by looking at fundamental principles of traditional Christian theology, along with an historical overview indicating the close connections between interpretation and spiritual life in the Church of the early centuries. In addition, the book describes what went wrong through the later centuries that has led to the problems in much biblical scholarship today – such as the work of the notorious “Jesus Seminar.”
This book also shows why the interpretive strengths of the early Church can and should be brought into the present while retaining what is of value from biblical scholarship of the recent past. Some examples are given of how this can be done.
Utilizing all that is valuable in historical-critical and related research, Dr. Mary Ford demonstrates with force and clarity just why biblical hermeneutics needs to return to the perspectives and methods of early Christian interpreters, particularly those of Eastern Church tradition.
Since the late Middle Ages, biblical interpretation in Western Christianity has been largely guided by historical-critical methodology. Highly useful for questions of “Introduction” (the “who, what, when, where and why” of biblical writings), it has nevertheless led to a serious “reductionism,” represented most flagrantly today by members of the “Jesus Seminar.” The indispensable link between exegesis and spiritual life has been largely obscured, with the result that concern for the Gospel promise of salvation has been subordinated to scientific inquiry of the text.
Her focus is consistently on the basic question, “What does the soul long for?” She answers the question by a careful criticism of non-orthodox trends in interpretation (from Spinoza to contemporary exegetes), and by demonstrating how a hermeneutic inspired by the Church Fathers can be faithful to the text, while leading the reader to discover what it means to be “a child of God.”
We are greatly indebted to Professor Ford for achieving her intended goal: to demonstrate that authentic and authoritative biblical interpretation is intimately related to the life of faith. This important book is a treasure that will be of special interest to clergy and students of theology, as well as to lay persons who experience the soul’s deep longing for God.
— Fr John Breck
This Weekend is our 113th Annual Memorial Day Pilgrimage! Please take note that we will begin processing all orders from the weekend Tuesday & Wednesday. Thank you for your understanding and come to the pilgrimage if you can!