Beyond Biblical Theology: Sacralized Culturalism in Heikki by Timo Eskola

By Timo Eskola

Examining Heikki Räisänen’s hermeneutics in context, Timo Eskola explores the advance of Western New testomony interpretation. Reclaiming a Wredean method of the Scriptures, Räisänen makes a speciality of culture and interpretation. He builds on Weberian sociology, followed via Peter Berger’s theories, and substitutes sacralized culturalism for biblical theology.

After reading fourteenth century Quran-criticism and its impression on Reimarus, Eskola discusses the genesis of the revised history-of-religion conception that Räisänen constructed whilst investigating the Quran’s courting to the Bible. Sociology then turns into a hyperlink among average historicism and poststructuralism as Räisänen reinterprets Berger’s sociology of information. Räisänen’s sacralized culturalism eventually turns into the speculation from which his magnum opus the increase of Christian ideals has been written.

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They show that ­certain criteria have lived on in scholarship, even though no one can prove that Räisänen used either Riccoldo’s criteria or Reimarus’ ideas when developing his hermeneutics. The similarities between these authors are so clear that one can claim at the very least that the attitude, if not the spirit, of the criteria has continued to influence biblical criticism through the centuries. As the investigation of the Quran has experienced a revival, so has the comparison between the Quran and the New Testament.

His methods are simply presented as scientific and generally accepted in other faculties of the time. Thus, Reimarus becomes a forerunner of a scientific investigation of the Bible. 22 The question about Reimarus’ intentions and reputation is deceptively simple. Concerning the theses of natural religion, Reimarus had published his ideas quite openly already in his Die vornehmsten Wahrheiten der natürlichen Religion (The Leading Truths of Natural Religion, 1754). In this respect they were not new to those who knew his Deistic convictions or the Wolffian tradition in Germany.

Riccoldo, however, is not mentioned. 32 A rare anachronism occurs in this passage since Reimarus must have been quite aware that much of the Quran is derived from the Bible. ” Reimarus (Lessing’s Werke 15), 169–170. 34 This is where both Reimarus’ analysis and Deistic program unite and are fulfilled. From the very start he wanted to prove that Deism’s conception of religion is the only rational way to speak about God and the nature of his revelation. Through critical investigation he has first shown that the Bible cannot be revelatory.

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