By Timo Eskola
Interpreting Heikki Räisänen’s hermeneutics in context, Timo Eskola explores the advance of Western New testomony interpretation. Reclaiming a Wredean method of the Scriptures, Räisänen specializes in culture and interpretation. He builds on Weberian sociology, followed via Peter Berger’s theories, and substitutes sacralized culturalism for biblical theology.
After studying fourteenth century Quran-criticism and its influence on Reimarus, Eskola discusses the genesis of the revised history-of-religion concept that Räisänen constructed while investigating the Quran’s courting to the Bible. Sociology then turns into a hyperlink among typical historicism and poststructuralism as Räisänen reinterprets Berger’s sociology of data. Räisänen’s sacralized culturalism eventually turns into the idea from which his magnum opus the increase of Christian ideals has been written.
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Additional info for Beyond Biblical Theology: Sacralized Culturalism in Heikki Räisänen's Hermeneutics
107. 40 chapter one concept of God: If we admit that God is just a mental representation produced by language, all religions will automatically be on the same level. No one can raise their religion above another. ”62 This is the final level on which Räisänen wants to see the historical understanding of religion—be it Christianity or Islam. Since the historical-critical scholar knows that there are no universal truths but merely occasional personal interpretations of experience, he can replace religion with humanism.
Believers are not able to adopt such a critical attitude, says Reimarus, since they have blind faith. 33 What does Reimarus conclude from all this? For him, both the Bible and the Quran are similar compilations of useless stories and legends. This confirms his leading principle that the Bible must be read according to the very same standards as any other literature. This thesis is further explained by an imaginative hypothesis of an unprejudiced reader. Reimarus says that if a reader, who has no preliminary knowledge whatsoever about religion and Christian tradition, reads the Bible as a normal text and cultural writing, it appears to him merely as a common novel.
It is of course interesting that he knows both Riccoldo, “the climax” of the critical tradition, and Marracci. This, from riccoldo to reimarus to räisänen 35 owever, does not yet prove that Räisänen himself would consciously use h their criteria in his own work. The fact remains that Räisänen is well aware of the criteria Marracci presented in his Refutatio Alcorani. The latter lists distinct criteria that Räisänen quotes in his work. The Quran, according to Marracci, is pene totus emendaciis, erroribus, blasphemiis, fabulis, nugis confertus et compactus.
Beyond Biblical Theology: Sacralized Culturalism in Heikki Räisänen's Hermeneutics by Timo Eskola