The following is biblical scholar Bruce Waltke critiquing another biblical scholar, Brevard Childs, and his canonical approach to interpretation. Waltke highly appreciates Childs, but as you will see through his critique, he also wants to distinguish his canonical interpretive approach to the Bible from Childs. This post will just be a teaser for those who have not heard of the “Canonical approach” to interpretation; I will try to explain what that is at a later time (or in the comments here). So here is Waltke’s short critique of Childs:

1. Childs does not clearly distinguish the stage of literary activity in the development of the text from changes that take place through scribal activity on the text. This is due to the fact that he has no clear definition of inspiration. But by the “canonical process approach” I have in mind that development of the text and canon that took place under the Spirit’s inspiration in contrast to those changes that took place through scribal copying.

2. Childs reckons with tracing the development of the tradition through historical criticism, another term he does not define, though recognizing that all too often the procedure is arbitrary and as such leads to inconclusive and nugatory results. One of the frequent presuppositions underlying historical criticism is the denial of the supernatural activity as a cause effecting an event. Childs allows the possibility of a divorce between Israel’s religious history and the canonical witness to that history. By canonical process I have no such division in mind and clearly affirm God’s supernatural intervention in Israel’s history.

3. Childs lays emphasis on the authority of the Jewish text achieved at about A. D. 100. I lay emphasis on the meaning of the Hebrew Scriptures within the context of the New Testament. (Bruce K. Waltke eds. J. s. and P.D. Feinberg, “Tradition & Testament” [chpt 1 A Canonical Process Approach to the Psalms], 7-8  )

Basically I think Waltke fails to realize the profound impact that someone like Karl Barth probably had on Brevard Childs’ approach to a bibliology; nevertheless, I am prone to side with Waltke’s rather “Evangelical” points of departure from Childs. Maybe some readers here could add further clarification for Waltke (and me) on Childs view of scripture (was he “Barthian”); did he follow historical criticisms’ (Teutonic) critiques (metaphysically) of scripture?

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