Fortress Press

The Promise of Ecumenical Interpretation: Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox

The Promise of Ecumenical Interpretation

Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox

Stefan Alkier (Author), Christos Karakolis (Author), Tobias Nicklas (Author), Jacob N. Cerone (Translator), David M. Moffitt (Translator)


Available August 20, 2024

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The Promise of Ecumenical Interpretation pursues its ecumenical goals by allowing the Bible itself to serve as the point of commonality. The volume retains the Bible's centrality as a guideline for individual faith and for the institutional design of churches in the context of contemporary social conflicts. The authors--one Protestant, one Catholic, one Orthodox--present ten unifying theses on the understanding and function of a conception of Scripture under the sign of Sola Scriptura. They agree that only Scripture, when correctly understood, bears witness to good news for everyone, and that only a shared, expectant, and critical turn to Scripture makes sustainable ecumenism possible. This is the basis for bringing biblical insights to the conditions that make community life possible amid the global and local, ecclesiastical and social conflicts of the present.

  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • Format Paperback
  • ISBN 9798889831716
  • eBook ISBN 9798889831723
  • Dimensions 6 x 9
  • Pages 246
  • Publication Date August 20, 2024


If all Christians believe that the Old and New Testaments of Holy Scripture are the authoritative witness to the Word of God, what might happen if they learned to read it with others from whom they are divided in the hope of displaying more visibly the unity for which Christ prayed? The authors suggest that the path toward repairing the divisions of the Great Schism between East and West and the subsequent fragmentation of the Protestant Reformation lies in reading Scripture together. The chapters provide interweaving conversations on scriptural interpretation that are attentive to the deep convictions of Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox churches and deeply informed by the most recent European and American biblical scholarship. The explorations of sola scriptura and intratextuality, tradition and ecclesia, reception aesthetics and hermeneutical openness, and much more are a remarkable gift.

Curtis W. Freeman, research professor of theology and Ruth D. Duncan Director of the Baptist House of Studies, Duke University Divinity School

This fascinating book shows that the ecumenical imperative has not weakened. The book also stands out as a vivid and powerful portrait of contemporary theological and confessional viewpoints in Germany and on the continent, many of which break quite sharply and decisively in intriguing and controversial ways with the traditional dogmatic self-understandings of Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox. The result is a path toward a new form of Christianity which deserves to be understood and assessed.

Matthew Levering, James N. Jr. and Mary D. Perry Chair of Theology, Mundelein Seminary

In a time of deep cultural and ecclesial divisions, The Promise of Ecumenical Interpretation offers hope for a renewal of responsible, holistic biblical interpretation that can unite Christians of various traditions--a goal that resonates in many ways with my own thirty-plus years of ecumenical activity in both the church and the academy. This volume, displaying three diverse but mutually respectful voices, offers profound, practical, and sometimes provocative proposals about the centrality and significance of Scripture in the life of the church.

Michael J. Gorman, Raymond E. Brown Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies, St. Mary's Seminary and University, Baltimore, and former dean, St. Mary's Ecumenical Institute

Three theologians (Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox) walk into a bar--to talk about sola scriptura. The Promise of Ecumenical Interpretation is no joke, however. It is, rather, a stirring call to lift up Scripture over one's own denominational identity. After centuries of church conflict over biblical interpretation, these representatives of the three historical branches of the Christian church have seen fit to apply the watchword of peacemakers ("In essentials, unity") to hermeneutics. Their Ten Theses on Scripture and its interpretation, along with the rest of the book, deserve to be widely read, discussed, and, where appropriate, implemented. The Promise of Ecumenical Interpretation responds to Paul's call to maintain the unity of the Spirit: "one Lord, one faith, one baptism" (Eph 4:5).

Kevin J. Vanhoozer, research professor of systematic theology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and author of The Drama of Doctrine: A Canonical-Linguistic Approach to Christian Theology