Beyond Biblical Theology

Sacralized Culturalism in Heikki Räisänen’s Hermeneutics


Reading Heikki Räisänen’s hermeneutics in context, Timo Eskola explores the development of Western New Testament interpretation. Reclaiming a Wredean approach to the Scriptures, Räisänen focuses on tradition and interpretation. He builds on Weberian sociology, adopted through Peter Berger’s theories, and substitutes sacralized culturalism for biblical theology.

After examining fourteenth century Quran-criticism and its impact on Reimarus, Eskola discusses the genesis of the revised history-of-religion theory that Räisänen developed when investigating the Quran’s relationship to the Bible. Sociology then becomes a link between standard historicism and poststructuralism as Räisänen reinterprets Berger’s sociology of knowledge. Räisänen’s sacralized culturalism finally becomes the theory from which his magnum opus The Rise of Christian Beliefs has been written.

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Timo Eskola, Dr.theol. (1992), Dr.phil. (2011), Theological Institute of Finland, is a Privatdozent at the University of Helsinki. He is the author of Messiah and the Throne (WUNT 2001), and Evil Gods and Reckless Saviours (Pickwick, 2011), among other works.
All interested in the theory of New Testament theology and biblical theology, and anyone concerned with Räisänen, Theissen, Berger, or sociological interpretation of Scripture.
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