Should Old Testament Study be more Theological?
Literary readings of the Old Testament in which there is genuinely no religious motivation at all are, the author believes, very rare indeed, despite disclaimers to the contrary. Nor are sociological and anthropological studies of the Old Testament usually devoid of a theological interest. If biblical criticism has killed the Bible as Christian Scripture, then a canonical approach seeks to breathe new life into it. At the same time it tries to help the critics themselves to be more theologically and religiously sensitive. Holistic literary readings began in the 1960s under the influence of French structuralism, and in origin this had nothing to do with theology; indeed, most structuralists were openly hostile to religion. There is a certain paradox here, for it remains the case that German university faculties of theology are far more tightly linked to the training of clergy than their British or American counterparts.