Biblical Interpretation in a World Come of Age: Paper for MCD Centenary Conference

I have posted details before of the forthcoming Melbourne College of Divinity Centenary Conference. However, the details of my own presentation at the conference have now been confirmed.  I will be giving a 'Topic Keynote Presentation' within the overall Conference stream entitled "The Word in the World" (and I have just finished the peer review process for the other 27 shorter papers proposed for this stream).  Here is the abstract of my own presentation:

Silent,
Secret, Secular: Biblical Interpretation in a World Come of Age

Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s prison writings
include his famous call for the ‘non-religious interpretation of biblical
concepts’ understood as a response to the situation of ‘religionlessness’ in a
world that has come of age. Far from being mere slogans, these fragmentary
phrases speak of Bonhoeffer’s ongoing attempts to re-articulate the nature of
the theological task in the light of the situation and demands of his day.


But what of the task of biblical
interpretation itself? In this paper I seek to draw on the theological legacy
of Bonhoeffer’s initial formulation and address the specific question of how we
are to describe the nature and task of biblical hermeneutics in the
contemporary context. We will consider how Bonhoeffer’s critique of religion,
his attempt to steer a path that moved beyond the Barthian and Bultmannian
projects of his day and his constructive account of the possible shape of
‘non-religious interpretation’, are all suggestive of a form of biblical
interpretation that refuses the easy dichotomies that often divide the guild of
biblical studies. Our search is for ways of interpreting the Bible that take
with full seriousness the Christian conviction that the location of the Word is
in the world.

The presentation will hopefully coincide with the publishing of the new edition of Letters and Papers from Prison in the Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works series by Fortress. The sense of anticipation for the appearance of this volume is, in certain parts of Scotland at least, palpable.