Thursday, January 19, 2012

Book Review: Holy Scripture: A Dogmatic Sketch

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Reasons to read this book:
-It provides an academic but dogmatic overview of the doctrine of Scripture.
-It provides interesting perspectives on this doctrine. Webster considers the doctrine from the triple perspective of revelation, sanctification, and inspiration. This type of "trinitarian" doctrinal perspective is all the rage these days, and Webster also considers the trio of Scripture, church, and canon in chapter 2, and Scripture, theology, and the theological school in chapter 4. Chapter 3 covers reading (the Scripture) in the economy of grace.

Reasons not to read this book:
-It is not comprehensive. It is a "sketch" focused on the doctrine of Scripture. In his own words, Webster does not, for example, "offer [a] theory of 'textuality', and say[s] almost nothing about such matters as the impact of deconstruction or of speech-act theory on thinking about the nature of Scripture" (1).
-It is very academic. Some of the authors that Webster draws from, you have probably never read.
-It is not strongly liberal, dialectic, or conservative. If you are a very, very strong inerrantist and literalist (in the literal senses of those words), if you are a very, very committed Barthian, or if you are a liberal, you will probably not enjoy Webster.

Sample quotation:
"However genuine they may be, exegetical difficulties are, in the end, not the heart of the difficulty in reading Scripture. The real problems lie elsewhere, in our defiance of grace" (106).

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