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This book proposes a novel understanding of canon that reaches beyond the text to the reality of tradition and its openness to interpretation. This new approach to biblical theology takes up major questions concerning the unity of the canon. Its thesis is bold: canon is both text and tradition. As text, the canon is the product of a history of formation; its unity is ascribed by subsequent generations interpreting the text. As tradition, its fundamental openness to diverse interpretations is the function of a subject behind the text that holds together the tradition's unity. Questions of the cannon's unity are brought into focus by a new concept of biblical theology that presupposes the theological and philosophical relevance of biblical texts. As conceived in religious categories, experience and reality are themes already available in Scripture. Whether one or many, Scripture addresses these questions for our time.
This new approach to biblical theology addresses the unity of the canon from an interdisciplinary perspective. The canon's unity is discussed as constituted both by an interpreted subjective unity "in front of" the text and by the subject matter "behind" the text. The volume includes Jewish and Christian contributions by scholars of the Hebrew Bible, the Dead Sea Scrolls, the New Testament, philosophy, and theology.
Christine Helmer is Assistant Professor of Theology at the Claremont School of Theology, California. Christof Landmesser is Lecturer in New Testament in the Protestant Theological Faculty at the Eberhard Karls University, Tubingen.