John Webster, Christology, Exegesis and Theology

An additional quote from John Webster's conclusion to his essay "Jesus Christ" in the Cambridge Companion to Evangelical Theology...

"Christology responds to the self-communicative presence of its object in the twofold work of exegesis and dogmatics. Exegesis is not the same as study of the history of biblical literature and religion in their settings. Modern evangelicals have sometimes been bedazzled by the range and sophistication of historical procedures at their disposal, and busied themselves to master them in the hope of outbidding their opponents. But historical studies are the servant of exegesis, not its master. One thing which evangelical doctrines of the sufficiency of Scripture ought to have secured is that the ultimate resource is the text, not what can be reconstructed about what lies behind the text, for the text is an act of God's self-disclosure. The fruits of the immense labors of evangelical New Testament scholars are by no means negligible; but in and of themselves they do not constitute a hearing of the Word, though they may offer much needed preparation for such a hearing. The real test of the utility of historical work is whether it enables exegesis. In a Christological context, this means that there is more to be gained from a potent reading of the Johannine prologue than from the most exquisite dissection of its historical background. Perhaps one of the most significant influences which evangelical theology might bring to bear upon the study of the New Testament would be to recall its practitioners to the task of theological interpretation, that is, reading Scripture as divine address" (60-61, emphasis mine).

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