What must the 'judge of all the earth' do exactly? : a critique through praxis of the canonical approach of Brevard S. Childs
The aim of this work is to attempt to read the text of Genesis 18-19 in line with the canonical approach of Brevard S Childs in order to critique his programme through its actual praxis. In chapter 1 a historical introduction to the discipline of 'biblical theology' and its texts provides a background against which to contextualise Childs's own work and its historical development. A detailed description of the approach in terms of its historical justification and its actual praxis appears in chapter 2. There certain common criticisms are encountered and refuted. It is also suggested that Childs's approach is often the target of unwarranted criticism based upon an assumed foundationalist view of hermeneutics. In chapter 3, this is developed further and it is argued that the non-foundationalist hermeneutics of Stanley E. Fish provide a heuristically powerful way of understanding the canonical approach and its 'community of faith'. Two aspects of the praxis of the canonical approach form the core of chapter 4: the necessary role of narrative presuppositions and the potential role of diachronic studies of biblical texts. A description of presuppositions necessary for understanding Genesis 18-19 are drawn from Genesis 1-17 and outlined, and the diachronic studies of H. Gunkel is used as an exemplar to test the illumination which diachronic studies may provide to readers of the canonical text. In chapters 5 and 6, a detailed exegesis is provided of the canonical text of Genesis 18 and Genesis 19. A short section on the effects of this exegesis on subsequent Old Testament texts completes chapter 6. In conclusion, the experience of reading the texts in this way is used to point out certain aspects and implications of the canonical approach which are missed when the approach is considered in purely theoretical terms.