James's Reviews > Discerning the Mystery: An Essay on the Nature of Theology

Discerning the Mystery by Andrew Louth
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Jan 08, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: patristics, biblical-hermeneutics

Before reviewing this book I should tell you not to buy this edition. I purchased this for around $50(147 pages, paperback), because I needed it for a class. After purchasing it I discovered that Eighth day books had their own published edition for half the price. Pagination was exactly the same. I would like to think my version has higher quality paper and uses more expensive glue in the binding, though I can't be sure. On to the review:

This book provides an excellent critique on where the Enlightenment has brought us in terms of its bastardization of truth and the glorification of scientific method over other ways of knowing. Louth points out that tradition and subjective ways of knowing are marginalized by the scientific method. This is no less true in biblical studies where the historical criticism applies the scientific method to reading the Bible. Louth argues that rather than getting our hermeneutic from the sciences, the humanities provide a better framework. This is because the humanities leave room for mystery while the sciences are directed at problem solving. Furthermore, Louth argues for a re-engagement with the tradition, and traditional forms of exegesis (allegory) in interpretation.

There is much to be commended in Louth's analysis. But I wonder if Louth is overstating his case somewhat. Clearly the practice of historical critical method has produced some useful knowledge (which Louth only half concedes). Louth is arguing for a more holistic look at truth but seems to be going to the other extreme. This is understandable as Louth states that he is not asking for agreement so much as promoting discussion.
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Reading Progress

January 8, 2010 – Shelved
Started Reading
January 18, 2010 – Finished Reading
September 9, 2011 – Shelved as: patristics
September 9, 2011 – Shelved as: biblical-hermeneutics

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Alex Stroshine Thanks for the tip about Eighth Day Books.


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