What place does the Bible have in Christian ethics today? How should the Bible be interpreted in the context of current moral concern? How does one understand the ethics in the Bible, and how do such ethics relate to the interpreter's own life and values? These are some of the questions addressed by this important book, the first comprehensive treatment of these issues. The past century of Biblical interpretation in relation to Christian ethics is seen to consist of three phases. In the first phase, liberal scholars responded to new methods of Biblical criticism and tried to make sense of Biblical ethics from perspectives derived from the Enlightenment. In the second phase, a more radical disjunction between Biblical culture and modern-day culture was seen to emerge. Various attempts were made to cope with this disjunction, ranging from outright skepticism to existentialism. In the third and final phase, sometimes called postmodernism, the relation between text and interpretation is viewed as distinctly more problematic. There can be no handling of textsin relation to ethics or anything elsethat is independent of interpretation. Dr. McDonald offers a stimulating analysis of the relationship between Biblical interpretation and Christian ethics in both past and present.
Table of Contents
General editor's preface; Preface; Abbreviations; Introduction - relating the Bible to Christian ethics; Part I. Liberal Principles and Practice: 1. Eternal values; 2. The principles of social ethics; Part II. Eschatology and Ethics: 3. Interim ethics; 4. Existential ethics; 5. The ethics of covenant and command; 6. The problem of Christian social ethics; Part III. Participation in Meaning: 7. The ethics of historical interpretation; 8. The ethics of contemporary reading.