Scripture and Its Interpretation

A Global, Ecumenical Introduction to the Bible


8. The Reception of the Bible and Its Significance

Reviewing the Chapter

  1. From the perspective of reception history, what are some of the various media in which the Bible has been interpreted throughout the centuries?
  2. What are some of the key theoretical issues in the debates about the nomenclature for “reception history,” and who have been some of the key participants in the discussion?
  3. How have various interpreters understood the relationship between biblical reception history and the historical-critical method?
  4. What are some of the concerns that have been voiced about the practice of reception history?
  5. Describe some of the key features of Funhof’s biblical interpretation in his painting The Feast of Herod.
  6. How does this chapter characterize the theological significance of reception history?
  7. According to this chapter, how does the study of reception history contribute to our understanding of the nature of biblical interpretation?

Engaging a Central Issue

Respond to the following claim Christine Joynes makes in this chapter (pp. 163–64): “By analyzing the reception of the Bible, one is challenged to surrender any claims to control the biblical text. . . . Perhaps surrendering the quest for a single correct meaning will lead to ecumenical bridges being built between different theological traditions.”

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

  1. What are some of the different terms used to refer to reception history? What is the significance of these various terms, and why is there debate about terminology?
  2. Does reception history assist historical-critical inquiry, bringing interpreters closer to the original meaning? Or does reception history under­mine the very notion of original meaning?
  3. What do you see as the contributions of reception history to biblical interpretation?