Despite many churches claiming that the Bible is highly significant for their doctrine and practice, questions about how we read the Bible are rarely made explicit. Based on ethnographic research in English churches, Congregational Hermeneutics explores this dissonance and moves beyond descriptions to propose ways of enriching hermeneutical practices in congregations. Characterised as hermeneutical apprenticeship, this is not just a matter of learning certain skills, but of cultivating hermeneutical virtues such as faithfulness, community, humility, confidence and courage. These virtues are given substance through looking at four broad themes that emerge from the analysis of congregational hermeneutics - tradition, practices, epistemology and mediation. Concluding with what hermeneutical apprenticeship might look like in practice, this book is constructively theological about what churches actually do with the Bible, and will be of interest to scholars, students and practitioners.
"This book breaks new ground in the study of hermeneutics. Andrew Rogers has done the Church an incredible service by lifting the veil on how congregations interact with the bible and make sense of it in their everyday lives. This careful and original piece of research builds towards constructive and creative suggestions to help the Christian community as it reads the bible. It is a must read for anyone interested in qualitative research and the study of the Church." Pete Ward, Professorial Fellow in Ecclesiology and Ethnography, Durham University, UK
"Andrew Rogers has put us in his debt. His clear and very insightful study of congregational hermeneutics has extended our understanding of how Christian communities actually interpret the Bible in practice. His constructive proposal makes a significant contribution to scholarship in the field. Scholars, students and church leaders interested in practical theology and congregational studies should read this book." Mark J. Cartledge, Professor of Practical Theology, Regent University, Virginia, USA
"The Bible becomes Scripture as it is read by the community of faith. In telling the tale of two congregations, Andrew Rogers helps us look again at the traditions, practices and epistemologies we inhabit. This is an important ethnographic study in the borderlands between practical theology, biblical studies and congregational studies. The seasoned minister will find a real stimulus to reflective practice. The student will find much they wish to emulate." Helen Cameron, Ripon College Cuddesdon, UK
Theological reflection on the church’s practice is now recognised as a significant element in theological studies in the academy and seminary. Routledge's series in practical, pastoral and empirical theology seeks to foster this resurgence of interest and encourage new developments in practical and applied aspects of theology worldwide. This timely series draws together a wide range of disciplinary approaches and empirical studies to embrace contemporary developments including: the expansion of research in empirical theology, psychological theology, ministry studies, public theology, Christian education and faith development; key issues of contemporary society such as health, ethics and the environment; and more traditional areas of concern such as pastoral care and counselling.