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Biblical Interpretation and MethodEssays in Honour of John Barton$
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Katharine J. Dell and Paul M. Joyce

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199645534

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199645534.001.0001

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The Bible and the Church I

The Bible and the Church I

The Legacy of Claus Westermann for Theology and Church

Chapter:
(p.106) 9 The Bible and the Church I
Source:
Biblical Interpretation and Method
Author(s):

Rainer Albertz

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199645534.003.0009

There are only a few German scholars of Old Testament Studies who have been as eager to exploit their exegetical insights for the benefit of Theology and Church as Claus Westermann. In a true Protestant attitude, Westermann wanted to reform the Church and its theology on the basis of a theological understanding of the Bible, especially the Old Testament. Heavily stamped by the experiences of the Confessing Church during the Nazi regime and the Second World War, he expected that a close and very careful reading of the Bible would reveal to him new insights, which would have a direct relevance for the present. Thus he discovered several important exegetical and theological issues, for example the universal significance of biblical primeval history as ‘introit’ to God’s particular salvation history with his people, the universal dimension of God’s blessing actions, and the theological importance of the complaint to God as a fundamental expression of human existence. Some of Westermann’s insights have had an impact on theology and the Church, but others have been overlooked or reduced. This chapter aspires to present important exegetical insights of Westermann in a more systematic way, to analyse his underlying hermeneutical model and his epistemological presuppositions, and to describe his methods for transferring his exegetical results into the sphere of the other theological disciplines and the practice of the Church.

Keywords:   blessing, Claus Westermann, epistemology, hermeneutics, individual laments, salvation history, theology, universalism, the Second World War

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