A Dialogue between ‘the Eastern’ and ‘the Western’ in New Testament Scholarship: A Proposal

Posted: February 4, 2014 in General

JohnsonThe following are some of the significant questions I posed during Bible Darshan, an international biblical conference, organized by the Department of Biblical Studies, The United Theological College, Bangalore, India, from 30th January till 1th February 2014.

[The current paper is intended to develop a hypothesis that suits the contemporary context of integration and convergence. The ideology of globalization fosters liquid social functionalism and trans-nationalism in a higher proportion [1]. In such a situation, it is one of our primary hypotheses that “the NT writings should be looked at from a global point of view, without deteriorating the local points of view, by bridging the eastern and the western perspectives for a wider impact”. The following questions remain significant in relation to the basic proposition: Do the Eastern NT scholars lag behind in something to demonstrate their theological or interpretative discourses? How would a ‘local’ to ‘global’ accretion help us to invite the attention of the global audience/readers? How gnomic interpretative processes [2] in relation to descriptive processes help us to achieve the goal? Is there a dialogue possible between the eastern and the western NT scholars/hip? What are some of the significant tenets to be considered in this process? Analyzing the topic at the macro-level is beyond the scope of this discussion. Rather we attempt to discuss the issue at a micro-level in order to extend it further to the meso– and macro-levels. The following three aspects are given significance in this paper: first, analyzing the scholarly views with regard to the relationship or integration of the NT scholarship; second, observing the existent obstacles for a borderless scholarly pursuit; and third, suggesting a dialogical paradigm for the contemporary “global village”. The task of the paper is not to reach certain conclusions or to put an end to the discussion in an abrupt manner. Rather to propose something afresh in the challenging global situation and to keep the dialogue an ongoing and open ended one.

(The full paper has sixteen pages [A4 size])


[1] My attempt here is not to deal with the aspects of globalization that indicate growing interdependence of countries and provinces through communication, finances and governance. Rather to explore the possibilities of a renewed framework for NT interpretation.

[2] I suggest here a gnomic present interpretation of the text; but it must always be done in relation to the descriptive presentation of the text. Daniel Wallace (1996: 523) states that, “the gnomic present refers to a general, timeless fact”. See Daniel Wallace, GreekGrammar Beyond the Basics (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 1996).]

By Johnson Thomaskutty, Union Biblical Seminary, Pune, India

  1. Franklin Samraj says:

    I wish I was there to attend. I like the term Bible Darshan. Could you please send my the full text of your presentation?

    Thank you Dr. Johnson Thomaskutty

  2. Thanx for your continued encouragements. I am blessed.

  3. Very nice post. I absolutely love this website. Thanks!

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