Dogmatisch, christelijk of gelovig Bijbellezen? De Bijbel in de Christelijke dogmatiek van Van den Brink en Van der Kooi
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Reading with a Dogmatic, Christian or Believing Attitude? The Bible in the 'Christelijke Dogmatiek' of Gijsbert van der Brink en Cees van der Kooi.This paper investigates the way the Bible is treated in the 2012 published systematic theology for the reformed tradition in the Netherlands. Surprisingly, the Bible is not treated extensively in the prolegomena of the book, as an heuristic tool giving access to Christian belief, but much later, as a witness of that belief, be it an important and normative one. A distinct advantage of this approach is that the role of the Bible is not overstressed as the sole source of coming to belief. The authors deny any tension with the sola scriptura of the Reformation, which seems debatable. More problematic is the gap the book still shows between systematic theology and biblical studies. The authors repeat the often heard objections against biblical studies: too complicated, too detached from the content of the biblical message and too divided to come up with useful results. They prefer theological exegesis, a methodically elective way of reading which fundamentally acknowledges the message of biblical belief. This inside perspective is of course viable, but the claim that this method is less biased and more objective than the methods biblical scholars normally use is difficult to substantiate. Moreover, it tends to lead to a ‘closed system’ where those ‘inside’ can follow their own rules without being accountable to those ‘outside’, including many biblical scholars. Fortunately, both authors do not follow that path. They remain constantly aware of the discussions going on in the broad field of (biblical) theology and society, which makes their book a valuable contribution to theology.