[文摘] Kevin Vanhoozer’s Interview with Gospel Coalition

2010-04-17 10-15-16 IMGP8273
(Photo by Mu-tien Chiou on the occasion of Wheaton Annual Conference 2010)
Source:  http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2009/05/11/interview-with-kevin-vanhoozer/
原文作者(author): Justin Taylor
訪談時間點為 2009.5,時當 Dr. Vanhoozer 離開芝加哥三一福音神學院,並接下同處芝加哥的惠頓大學資深教授教席。

談到惠頓大學的博士班,Vanhoozer表示, 惠頓大學神學博士班的特在在於結合並折衷英美之長。有英國的獨立研究、科際整合的研究題目取向,又有美的研究資源和廣博課程可供選擇:

« The integrative nature of the program and the mid-Atlantic blend (fewer courses, more intensive personal direction) is a good recipe for making theological chamber music. I’m also delighted to be returning to a context in which theology is able to converse with the liberal arts (and sciences). »

此一動向,自然也反映了 Vanhoozer幾個主要的學術關懷,其一是聖經詮釋:「有無讓聖經自己說話、而不需依靠任何外在理論框架的可能?」

« One of my main concerns about evangelicals in the academy today pertains to the interpretation of the Bible. It is tempting to read the Bible like all the other respectable scholars–historians, literary critics, scientists–so that we will be accepted as intellectually respectable, but at what cost? Is there an alternative to imposing [any] theoretical frameworks onto the Bible? »

  • 06
  • Comment: I don’t think so. But the only legitimate imposition will be reading it within our ecclesial redemptive framework by the virtue ethics that the HS is demanding. 我相信從現象學、後結構、後殖民、後現代,走到後自由,康德式「先天直觀」或「超驗統覺」能被恢復的機會愈發渺茫。倒是天主教法國現象學有機會重燃阿奎那、並讓迪卡兒枯骨復生,「新基礎主義」的自然神學/基督教形上學的「Neo-」說不定很快就要和那一票「Post-」打對台了。但不論如何,「聖經」一定不會是「認識論金字塔」的底層,而是頂層。這就意味著它的崇高、權威地位仍需要有穩固的下部理論基礎支撐(歷史研究、語言學研究、教會論、基督論、倫理學、人類學、宇宙科學…等)。無論後自由還是新基礎,都是在為這個金字塔工程服務,但其目的不是建造「聖言巴別塔」(bibliolatrous Babel ),而是讓聖書成為連結神格三位一體(父子靈)或哲學三維(存有論、認識論、倫理學)的頂錐–亦即一個三維立體(3 dimensional)並動態的神學。

Pyramids on the beach

Vanhoozer的學術關懷其二,便是神學認識論的實踐面向,亦即與知識建構和傳承相關的教育學和知識繫譜學(epistemic geneology [中])。自啟蒙運動起,這表現在了「自然科學」、「實用科學」、「哲學」、「人文科學」、「社會科學」紛紛從「神學」中獨立出來的現象。更進一步的則是十九世紀高等批判、低等批判等歷史和語文研究進路所造成的神學院內部知識鴻溝和裂解,「系統神學「和「聖經研究」之間斷裂已經超過一世紀–更不用說「新約和舊約」、「理論神學和實踐神學」之間的疏離了–,但如何修補?

« A related issue concerns the conversation between exegetes and systematic theologians about biblical interpretation. We have a long way to go fully to heal the Enlightenment split between biblical studies and dogmatics. No one–neither church nor society nor academy– really benefits from this balkanization of theological studies. »

  • Comment: This is a legit diagnosis. clip_image001[1] But Duke is healing this split by doing postliberal holistic ecumenical theology. Wheaton is not the only one, nor has it to start the enterprise from Ground Zero.

訪談的第三部分牽涉到宗派傳統:如果沒有一個傳統能代表真理的一方,是否意味著傳統也需要繼續演進及學習?傳統好比施工中的房子,在大雨滂沱雖會漏水,但若基本能遮風避雨,也總好過身無片縷地濕身在外。 他話是如下面這麼說的:

 » It’s encouraging that evangelicals have not abandoned the church, though too often our churches are islands unto themselves, cut off from confessional continents and susceptible to being carried along by the prevailing cultural currents.I’m concerned that the attitude that “no one can really know the truth” has seeped into the evangelical mind. From the (correct, in my opinion) premise that no tradition gives us exclusive access to absolute truth, some infer (incorrectly, in my opinion) that it really doesn’t matter which, if any, tradition we inhabit. For my own part, I’d rather reside in a house with a leaky roof or basement than rough it on the street. . . . »



« It’s encouraging that evangelicals have not abandoned the academy, though a Christian presence is more palpable in some disciplines (e.g., philosophy) rather than others (e.g., English lit.).

The most important thing is to be aware that culture is always, already there–something in which we live and move and have our historical being–and that it is always actively cultivating, always forming habits of the heart and habits of perception.


The image of the church as maritime vessel (ship) in the sea (the world) is a good one: Throughout Scriptures, water is often a symbol for powers that can engulf us. You need to know the ship and know the sea. But the church should not be wholly anti-world either, for the sea, as part of the created order, is in another sense what sustains us. Ultimately it is the wind–the breath of the word-ministering Spirit–that allows the churchto be counter-cultural and to set her course against the prevailing intellectual currents. »


« I have two books coming out next year. The first, Remythologizing Theology: Divine Action, Passion, and Authorship, will be published by Cambridge University Press in their Studies in Christian Doctrine series. It is a sustained reflection on the claim that God speaks to us and that we speak to God. I develop a communicative or dialogical theism that develops its understanding of the God-world relationship largely out of the biblical depictions of human-divine conversation. I then bring this communicative focus to bear on the twin vexed issues of divine action and divine suffering through a critical engagement with the “new orthodoxy,” namely, versions of open theism and panentheism that insist on seeing God’s suffering as entailed by God’s love. The result is what I am calling a post-Barthian Thomism. It’s a “retooling” of classical theism that makes interpersonal dialogue rather than impersonal causality the keystone of the God-world relation. It also revisits several long-standing controversies such as the relations of God’s sovereignty to human freedom, time to eternity, and suffering to love. »

  • Comment: 所謂的後巴特湯瑪斯主義應該是繼續走在批判實在論的路線上,「後」巴特意味避開了「唯信主義」這一塊的偏狹,同時保留了後自由神學對上帝在救恩歷史中的啟示特殊性。湯瑪斯主義則是溫和唯實論(moderate/critical realism),只要能小心使用,並且輔助現象學,應該很快就能和後自由神學以及天主教的新基礎主義會合了。我一直感覺當前Vanhoozer的認識論應該是走在林貝克(George Lindbeck)和馬希翁(Jean-Luc Marion)之間、詮釋學吸收了呂格爾(Paul Ricoeur)和提瑟頓(Anthony Thiselton)卻因為改革宗框架太重而缺少了兩人往前突進的勇力和魄力。當然,Vanhoozer不需要成為上述任何一人的接班人,他在福音派神學的地位也已經不是別人可以取代,「後巴特湯瑪斯主義」若是能將改革宗教會重新帶回「普世教會合一運動」的對話框架當中,「再神話化神學」(Remythologizing Theology)一書的寫作也是功不可沒了。(福音合一運動中的林貝克?)(我個人則需要在手邊工作忙完後盡快將這本書細讀。)

以Vanhoozer作為編輯的另一個出版計畫「聖經畫展」( Pictures at a Biblical Exhibition)則是一個透過「圖畫」和「圖像」觀念反差
(Picture vs. Scene)的三W(worship, witness, and wisdom)恢復計畫。圖畫是完整的、圖像是局部的。因此圖畫的展示變隱含了實踐神學的工作:Vanhoozer提倡,將自身的救贖敘事,與聖經中的拯救劇場整合成一幅圖畫,需要依靠「聖化的想像力」( Sanctified imagination)。

 » The second, Pictures at a Biblical Exhibition: Theological Scenes of the Church’s Worship, Witness, and Wisdom, will be published by InterVarsity Press. It’s a collection of essays that attempts to make what I’ve been working on over the past few years a bit more accessible–hence “scenes” rather than the big picture. I argue that we need to recover a biblically rooted, theologically formed imagination for the sake of the church’s worship, witness, and wisdom. If a picture has indeed held the evangelical church captive, then this book could be seen as an exercise in liberation theology! »

On Sanctified imagination: « I find that the imagination is a vital ingredient in my sanctification. I need the big biblical picture (creation-fall-redemption-consummation). To keep the gospel story [together with its presuppositions and implications] in mind requires imagination to connect our own story to that of Jesus. Thus, the imagination is “sanctified” because it is “set apart” for the purpose of making just these kinds of connections. On the contrary vain imaginings are those that mislead us to see our lives as part of either godless or pagan pictures. »

培育「聖化想像力」,有兩個實踐的指引。第一點在我看來說的就是後自由神學陣營苗圃中的「敘事神學」( Narrative theology):

« First, reading. Martha Nussbaum has some wonderful essays in her book Love’s Knowledge on how the novels of Henry James train us to attend to the moral significance of the details of human life. If we can learn moral sensitivity from Henry James, how much more can Christians learn, say, about speech ethics from the epistle of James, not to mention all the Old Testament narratives, Jesus’ parables, and the Gospels themselves. »

« My concern is that many Evangelicals are suffering from malnourished imaginations. This impedes their ability to live coherently in the world–that is, according to a meaningful metanarrative. We want to believe the Bible, but we are unable to see our world in biblical terms (this is a major theme of my Pictures at a Biblical Exhibition that I mentioned above). That leads to a fatal disconnect between our belief-system and our behavior, our faith and our life. If faith’s influence is waning, as two-thirds of Americans now think, I believe that it is largely because of a failure of the evangelical imagination. »

  • Comment: I would substitute ‘critical/fiduciary framework’ for the word « metanarrative » just for political or confessional reasons. 第一點我基本完全同意,僅有的小意見就是用詞術語,對後自由陣營的用語我還是覺得較為親切和舒服吧(其實這詞是Vanhoozer自己從前也借用的)


« Reading, then, is a kind of strength-training that flexes the muscles of our imagination. Those who read widely are often those who are able to employ metaphors that connect ordinary life to the wonderful real world of the Bible.

Viewing self as part of the ongoing biblical narrative: My task as a disciple of Jesus Christ is to continue the theodramatic action–the plot of salvation history–in a manner that is consistent with what the Father, Son, and Spirit have already done and are still doing. To some extent, the theologian is a worker in dramatic fittingness whose task is to help us understand the drama of redemption, both theoretically and practically. We need practical understanding of the gospel so that we can speak and act faithful and orthodox lines in new cultural scenes.

New player on the academic scene: the theological interpreter of Scripture. Is it a kind of exegete? historical theologian? systematic theologian? a mixture of all three? Be that as it may, the issues that my book is about–the metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics of meaning–continue to demand our attention. »

  • Comment: Vanhoozer 這裡是為平信徒才問的問題,其實從自己2005年和 N.T. Wright合編了「聖經神學詮釋辭典」(Dictionary of Theological Interpretation of the Bible)時相信早有答案。我同樣認為杜克大學早已用行動耕耘來回答這問題有十餘年了:clip_image001[4] Should not neglect the fact that theological interpretation of Scripture is already done by persons from all the abovementioned positions.

最後,談到詮釋學和倫理學的關係。晚近現代自尼采和海德格等人對形上學和認識論的一輪百年大戰,留下的是近乎被淘空根基的倫理學。詮釋學則 70年代後半路殺出。考量阿圖塞( Louis Althusser)已降法國左派政治哲學和文學批評對「意識型態」問題的處理和激辯(並承認「「積極後現代」與「消極後現代」兩造對此議題的調解),我們可以說詮釋學其實是倫理學的思想衍生物(subset)嗎?
作為系統神學家又是詮釋學家的 Vanhoozer提出了非常符合自己定位的回答:「不如說詮釋學、倫理學、以及一切都是神學的思想衍生物。 」

« Let me begin by saying that my subtitle alludes to Van Harvey’s important work, The Historian and the Believer: The Morality of Historical Knowledge and Christian Belief. Harvey argues that it is immoral to believe something except on the basis of sufficient evidence. This makes criticism more “moral” than faith. So much for the modern morality of knowledge. What I wanted to call attention to was that some postmoderns move in the opposite direction, succumbing not to intellectual pride but sloth by maintaining that it is immoral (they say “violent”) to make claims about a text’s determinate meaning. »

« Hermeneutics is a subset of ethics because interpretation aims at a certain kind of good, namely, understanding. In my book I argue for the importance of what I call the interpretative virtues: habits of mind that are more conducive [than not] to getting understanding. In particular, humility is a key interpretive virtue without which readers cannot do justice to authors as “others.” Other interpretive virtues include honesty, openness, and attentiveness. Ultimately, the interpretive virtues are not merely intellectual, nor even moral, but spiritual and theological, for truly to be honest, humble, self-critical, and open is to be a person with certain dispositions, many of which are related to the fruit of the Spirit. »

  • Comment: 他的這段回答很直接就能與歐陸(特別以法國為中心)近代「詮釋學的神學轉向」、「現象學的神學轉向」、「保羅研究的哲學轉向」等思潮移轉看出關連性。 It is theological and spiritual also because that it involves phenomenologically setting the order of things (les mots et les choses) in a right relation.



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