Ever since it was released last month, we’ve been looking for way to introduce Karlfried Froehlich’s new book Sensing the Scriptures: Aminadab’s Chariot and the Predicament of Biblical Interpretation properly here on EerdWord. Somehow, though, we hadn’t yet found the right words with which to do it.
Then, last week, a letter originally sent to Froehlich by Peter Brown (who is Philip and Beulah Rollins Professor of History Emeritus at Princeton University) popped into our inboxes, and we knew immediately that the right words had finally arrived. We share the letter here today with Brown’s blessing, who writes, “It is a book that deserves the widest possible circulation.”
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Department of History
Princeton, New Jersey
September 21, 2014
Eerdmans has just sent me a copy of your new book, Sensing the Scriptures. I have read it through — for the simple reason that once I had picked it up, I could not put it down. It is one of the very best books that I have read for a very long time. There is a richness and certainty of touch about it that truly delights and nourishes the reader. It is far more than an introduction to late antique and medieval exegesis. It is a true histoire du sentiment religieux of an entire millennium, as well as a breath of rich air in the somewhat stuffy atmosphere of modern Christianity. I particularly loved the care and zest with which you defined the nature of the physical senses which underlay the structuring of the exegetical programs that you describe — adding depth and intensity to each one in turn.
Altogether, Sensing the Scriptures is one of those books which one envies sincerely and without ill-will. It is a book which I had long thought needed to be written in modern conditions, and not only as a much-needed guide to historians of Patristic and medieval thought. It is , indeed, the sort of book that I had dreamed of so long that it almost became a book that I had wished to write myself. But thank goodness, it was written by you — with your superb training and with the background of scholarship (both German and English-speaking) which you display with such effect on these lectures: sicut odor agri pleni (Genesis 27:27).
It made me proud to be at least a neighbor of the PTS [Princeton Theological Seminary] where such scholarship and teaching can happen. I was, indeed, particularly touched by the constant presence in this book of my friends Paul and Kathy. Altogether, you all represent a very precious tradition of scholarship, of which I am aware (with gratitude) every time I enter the portals of Speer Library.
With warmest congratulations and many thanks,
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Sensing the Scriptures
About Sensing the Scriptures:
Sensing the Scriptures explores the ways that Christians, from the period of late antiquity through the Protestant Reformation, interpreted the Bible according to its several levels of meaning. Using the five bodily senses as an organizing principle, Karlfried Froehlich probes key theological developments, traditions, and approaches across this broad period, culminating in a consideration of the implications of this historical development for the contemporary church.
Distinguishing between “principles” and “rules” of interpretation, Froehlich offers a clear and useful way of discerning the fundamental difference between interpretive methods (rules) and the overarching spiritual goals (principles) that must guide biblical interpretation. As a study of roots and reasons as well as the role of imagination in the development of biblical interpretation, Sensing the Scriptures reminds us how intellectually and spiritually relevant the pursuit of a historical perspective is for Christian faith and life today.
Click to order Sensing the Scriptures: Aminadab’s Chariot and the Predicament of Biblical Interpretation.