Recently Andreas Köstenberger posted a lengthy review of Kevin Vanhoozer’s book The Drama of Doctrine: A Canonical-Linguistic Approach to Christian Theology. Vanhoozer then wrote a lengthy reply, which Köstenberger posted here.
This exchange is beneficial even for those who have not had time yet to read this particular volume of Vanhoozer.
6 thoughts on “Köstenberger Reviews VanHoozer; VanHoozer Responds”
How well do you think Vanhoozer answered Kostenberger’s concerns?
I think Vanhoozer’s (KJV) response addresses most of Kostenberger’s (AJK) concerns. But KJV’s answer regarding the lack of textual grounding for the overarching theater metaphor does not satisfy me. I am a little surprised that he did not mention 1 Cor 4:9, where Paul refers to the apostles as a “spectacle” (θέατρον), the Greek word from which we get theater. The word can and does refer to a theater in Acts 19:29, 31, but the meaning of theater does not exactly fit the context of 1 Cor 4:9 (and there it only refers to the apostles) all that well. The reason that I mention this is that this was the closest to a textual warrant KJV offered in a systematics class I took from him at TEDS; perhaps since then he has backed away from using that b/c he thinks it better to admit no textual basis than a poor one. I don’t know.
Being more of an biblical-theologian than a systematician, I tend to preference explicitly biblical models and be suspicious of non-biblical ones. But having said that, I think that KJV is thinking and writing in areas that few if any evangelicals are, and doing so in a way that must be taken seriously by non-evangelicals.
I love Vanhoozer’s work, but one of my concerns is his lack of exegetical work. Maybe that is not always his aim, but I, too, am more interested in biblical categories than systematic ones. I understand what Vanhoozer is doing and think it fits well with BT concepts and themes, but I would like to see more exegesis. Am I understanding you point correctly?
Yes, I think you have caught the tenor of my comments.
After reading Vanhoozer’s book for my Theological Methodology course with him, my main dissatisfaction (overall it may have been my favorite book of the year) was that he didn’t take the time to put his paradigm to work. I’d like Vanhoozer to write a book, next, that demonstrates where and how his hermeneutic links up with systematic theology.
In other words, in practical terms, how does he intend his proposal to be of use to anyone who doesn’t read large, orange, esoteric books?
You might want to checkout Vanhoozer’s latest book entitled Everyday Theology. It is an edited volume, but Vanhoozer offers the first chapter. In that chapter, he outlines some helpful ways of appropriating what he has written elsewhere (Drama of Doctrine and Is there Meaning..?). He still includes probably a little too much technical jargon for the average lay person, but as someone who is already familiar with his works, I found the inclusion of his technical language helpful. This book is all about applying his ideas concerning textual interpretation to the task of interpreting culture. It is a helpful book and I think a great step forward towards practicing what he was preaching in Drama of Doctrine.