Original Research

With the Bible toward the year 2000: scriptural engagement as barometer, beacon and bellwether

J. H. Elliott
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 24, No 3 | a1350 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v24i3.1350 | © 1990 J. H. Elliott | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 07 June 1990 | Published: 07 June 1990

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J. H. Elliott,, United States

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Abstract

Through the centuries, engagement with the Bible has served as a barometer (recording and reflec­ting the history of shifting circumstances), as a beacon (constituting a source of light illuminating theological reflection and guiding human conduct) and as a bellwether (leading the way in setting new agendas for the Church, her theology and her encounter with the world.) Against this back­ ground, the history of biblical engagement through the centuries is briefly traced. The main focus of the article is, however, to reflect on the role of the Bible in the next millenium. The author foresees an even stronger ecumenical engagement, an enhanced focus on a critical faith and a self-critical rationality, a stronger rejection of absolutist claims, renewed respect for the diversity of voices in the biblical canon, the emergence of biblical study to an attentive dialogue partner within other fields of human knowledge and a renewed search for wisdom in the Bible in future in order to face the problems which will confront humankind. Against the background of these developments the study of the Bible will, in the third millenium, become even more an interconfessional, international, interdisciplinary and intersocial enterprise, sustained by the conviction that the Bible is a holy and privileged word, both about human existence and humanity’s relation to God, society, history, and the cosmos.

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