Fueled by the philosophies of the Enlightenment, modernist approaches to biblical interpretation have optimistically presupposed an objective, scientific detachment as both possible and desirable when interpreting the biblical narrative. However, beginning with the development of postmodern thought in the second half of the twentieth century, scholars have begun to question whether it is possible to achieve such a goal (Newsom 502). As a conscious understanding of our own cognitive framework and its role in our perception of reality has emerged, scholars have begun to understand two things. First, the authors of the biblical texts shaped their stories according to a set of assumptions about the nature of reality. Second, readers filter the biblical narrative through a subjective lens that is shaped by their own assumptions about reality.
In 2001 the General Conference Mennonite Church (GC) and the Mennonite Church (MC) accepted a common set of membership guidelines and a plan to merge into a single denomination. This union of two historic Anabaptist denominations of North America gave birth to the Mennonite Church USA. While the vote counts for the merger exceeded the expectations of the Executive Board (Trollinger 9), the road to unification had been fraught with many years of tense debate over the divisive issue of homosexuality.
In 1859 Charles Darwin published the first edition of his seminal work Origin of the Species, in which he presented his theory of evolution. According to Darwin’s hypothesis, many organisms on our planet originated from other living things that have incorporated modifications over successive generations (Evolution). In response to Darwinian evolution, Creationists presented an alternative theory, asserting that matter, the world and all life were created by God ex nihilo (from nothing). Creationism today breaks into two primary strains: Biblical Creationism, which invests the six-day creation story of Genesis with historicity, and Scientific Creationism, which attributes the role of creator to God but is less concerned with a literal six days of creation. Both schools of creation thought eschew the notion that human beings may have evolved from lower animal forms. (Creationism)
For centuries Christians have used the designations "Old Testament" and "New Testament" to organize works that they have included in the Bible. Until recently these titles have been accepted within the Christian context without question. But is there a need to examine our presuppositions?
In 1973 Dr. Phyllis Trible delivered a lecture at
In response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, while the crash sites at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were still smoldering, the U.S. had quickly launched an offensive against the Taliban regime and routed out al Qaeda terrorist training camps in Afghanistan. As the nation rode high on a wave of patriotism, President George W. Bush inaugurated a campaign that is now widely known as the War on Terror (Nation).