There are many books about how people ought to interpret the Bible. This book is about how people in churches actually interpret the Bible, and why they interpret it in the way that they do. Based on a study of Anglicans in the Church of England, it explores the interaction of belief, personality, experience and context and sheds new light on the way that texts interact with readers. The author shows how the results of such study can begin to shape an empirically-based theology of scripture. This unique study approaches reader-centred criticism and the theology of scripture from a completely new angle, and will be of interest to both scholars and those who use the Bible in churches.
’... very good at questioning the assumption many 'expert' make about the attitudes of 'ordinary' churchgoers.’ Church Times ’... an important contribution to an area of biblical studies that certainly demands the attention of the scholarly community: biblical reception history... a useful volume that is a good example of a relatively unexplored area of biblical studies and is perhaps as helpful for the clear working out of the methodology as it is for what it tells us about Anglicans (though the insights into the latter gained from this study should not be underestimated).’ Theological Book Review ’... Village is to be congratulated on his pioneering work.’ Journal of Empirical Theology ’At the intersection of practical theology and biblical studies, this book is an important contribution to the small but growing literature examining how people in churches actually interpret the Bible. Village argues persuasively that studies such as his are needed in order to hold up a mirror to the church. Such a mirror can check the stereotyping of ordinary biblical interpretation from both ecclesiastical and academic sources, but more importantly challenges the Church regarding the discrepancy between hermeneutics in theory and hermeneutics in practice. This book will be of great interest to any who are concerned about the interpretation of the Bible in the Church, whether practitioners and/or academics.’ Practical Theology