Essay / Theology

The Bible and Divine Speaking

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The doctrine of Scripture (bibliology, the doctrine that states what the Bible is and how it functions in the church) ought to be a doctrine about God’s speech. When the doctrine is handled with proper amplitude and attentiveness, it is a doctrine about God communicating verbally in a way that results in these prophetic and apostolic texts. An adequate Christian account of Scripture has to reach all the way up to the doctrine of revelation itself, and all the way down to the particulars of the varied writings that make up the two-testament, many-voiced Bible. Unless it reaches that high, it bottoms out in observations about historical-cultural reading practices; unless it reaches that low, it hovers above the actual phenomena in the book and its readers.

This is just a quick note to remind the online world that there are about three weeks (July 17 is the deadline) left to submit a proposal for Los Angeles Theology Conference 2016: The Voice of God in the Text of Scripture. The official Call for Papers is here, and it includes information about scholarships for qualified paper presenters.

We’re bringing together a group of theologians (in the expansive sense of that term, to include biblical studies scholars) to talk about the doctrine of Scripture, in hopes of approaching the doctrine from an unconventional angle. The five plenary speakers and their topics are:

  • William Abraham, Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University
    Postmodern Historical Criticism and the Possibility of Hearing God
  • John Goldingay, Fuller Theological Seminary
    Hearing God Speak from the First Testament
  • Richard B. Hays, Duke Divinity School
    Hearing Backwards: Retrospective Perception of Divine Speech in Scripture
  • Amy Plantinga Pauw, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary
    The Voice of God in Israel’s Wisdom Literature
  • Daniel Treier, Wheaton College
    Scripture’s Textual Voices: A Dogmatic Account

If you know these thinkers through their published work, you can easily see that LATC16 is going to be an interesting forum for working out a contemporary doctrine of Scripture.

We are expecting to add nine more short papers to the program, and the call for papers is open until July 17. Please help spread the word about the opportunity to submit a proposal for LATC16. If you’re a Bible-minded systematician, a doctrinally-minded biblical studies person, or a philosopher who can help us all think clearly on these issues, propose a paper. If you read this post and immediately think of somebody whose work ought to be included in this conference, tell them to check out the call for papers.

And if you can attend (it’ll be at Fuller Theological Seminary this year), mark your calendar for January 14-15, 2016.

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