This book is part of a series which moves the canon debate of the 1980s forward into a new multidisciplinary and cross-cultural phase by investigating problems of canon formation across the whole humanistic field. Some volumes explore the linguistic, political or anthropological dimensions of canonicity. Others examine the historical canons of individual disciplines. The important contribution to the canon debate is remarkable in examining the actual process of canon formation from three unusual and complementary angles. The first two chapters discuss historical attitudes to canons from antiquity onwards, showing the religious, aesthetic, cultural and political interests which have shaped our modern critical canons. Each of the four succeeding chapters examines an exemplary modern defendant, interpreter, or critic of canons: Ernst Gombrich, Northrop Frye, Frank Kermode, and Edward Said. A final chapter considers the origins and rationale of the contemporary debate, emphasizing the disciplinary and aesthetic problems we must confront if our cultural institutions are to meet the changing needs of the next century.
This book offers a fresh cross-disciplinary approach to the current discussion on the Christian canon formation process. By carefully integrating historical, hermeneutical and theological aspects to account for the emergence of the canon, it seeks to offer a more comprehensive picture of the canon development than has previously been achieved. The formation and continuous usage of the Christian biblical canon is here viewed as an act of literary preservation and actualization of the church's apostolic normative tradition - 'the Scriptures and the Lord' - addressing, first of all, the church, but also the wider society. In order to grasp the complex phenomenon of the biblical canon, the study is divided into four parts, focusing respectively on linguistic and effective-historical, textual and material, performative, and ideational aspects of the canon. Attention is given to the scribal nomina sacra convention, the codex format, oral and written Gospel, early Christian liturgical praxis and the Rule of Faith. Bokedal argues that the canon was formed in a process, with its own particular intention, history, and direction. Throughout the study, history and theology, past and present are considered alongside each other. By using a Gadamerian hermeneutics of tradition, the reader's attention is directed to historical dimensions of the canon and its interpretative possibilities for our time. The notion of effective history (Wirkungsgeschichte), as well as the interaction between text, community and reader are crucial to the argument. The canonical text as text, its interpretation and ritual contextualization are highlighted as unifying elements for the communities being addressed.
From the PREFACE.
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