This study seeks to make a contribution to current debates about the nature of Wirkungsgeschichte or reception history and its place in contemporary Biblical Studies. The author addresses three crucial questions: the relationship between reception history and historical-critical exegesis; the form of reception history itself, with a focus on the issue of which acts of reception are selected and valorized; and the role of tradition, pre-judgements and theology in relation to reception history. Disagreements about these matters contribute to what many characterise as the fragmentation of the discipline of biblical studies. The study champions the hermeneutics of Hans-Georg Gadamer as a theoretical resource for understanding biblical interpretation, and a way of holding together with integrity the varied activities undertaken within the discipline. Gadamer offers a discourse that encompasses text and reader, their respective historical and cultural contingencies, and the traditions of interpretation that lie between them - all the elements at stake in the interpretation of biblical texts.
The author reveals significant dimensions of the theory of Gadamer and Jauss neglected in contemporary discussion. Each aspect of the argument is illustrated, tested and further explored with reference to the post-history of exhortations in the New Testament to 'be subject'. These have been widely cited and applied for 2,000 years - in literature, law and politics as well as in theological traditions. In this way the study makes a contribution not just to the theory but also the practice of reception history.
Reception History, Tradition and Biblical Interpretation by Robert Evans was published by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC in July 2014. The ISBN for Reception History, Tradition and Biblical Interpretation is 9780567655400.