Everyday Theology: Vanhoozer

Kevin Vanhoozer, Everyday Theology – The first chapter is worth the whole book; the rest of the book is a collection of his methodology applied by students from his Cultural Hermeneutics course at Trinity Seminary. Vanhoozer turns his hermeneutical and linguistic savvy (cf. Is There Meaning in This Text?) to developing a framework for interpreting culture. He notes that the are cultural texts (products, forms, stuff) and cultural trends (intangible effects of cultural texts), both of which must be carefully interpreted if we are to redemptively engage our cultures.

Drawing on Mortimer Adler, he proposes that we understand the world in, behind, and in front of a cultural text. Strong echoes of Marshal McLuhan are present throughout.

On the downside, Vanhoozer imports too much lingusitic terminology for everyday readers (locutionary, perlocutionary, illocutionary) to communicate his framework, which could be presented with more accessible language. He also notes the importance of using the creation-fall-redemption storyline in interpreting cultural text and trends, but does not deliver on how or why this is important. Though far from “everyday” in places, overall he presents a cultural hermeneutic that is compelling and intriguing.