Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003. Pp. vii + 144. Paper. $18.42. ISBN 0521538467
In the opening sentence of this work, John Webster succinctly states both his topic and the method of its investigation
What follows is a dogmatic sketch of a topic much negelcted in contemporary theology, namely, the nature of Holy Scripture (1).
What Webster wants to do is to examine Scripture from an unashamedly theological perspective, eshewing many major concerns regarding Scripture, like textual accuracy and the nature of inspiration. While Webster wouldn’t deny the importance of these issues (he maintains that his dogmatic account of Scripture is subserveint to the primary theological task of exegesis), he wants to tackle the more foundational issue of what Scripture fundamentally is. Webster’s study is an attempt to map out an ontology of Scripture from a dogmatic perspective in the hopes that it benefits the work of the church. As Webster puts it
The result is a dogmatic ontology of Holy Scripture: an account of what Holy Scripture is in the saving economy of God’s loving and regenerative self-comunication (2).
Thus, in this introduction, Webster has articulated his topic (a theological ontology of Scripture), his method/presupposition (dogmatic theology), and his goal (a theological ontology of Scripture that is useful for understanding its role in God’s salvific plan). At this point, some may be wondering why Webster sees the need to achieve this goal. In his first chapter, which will be reviewed soon, Webster demonstrates why we need to rethink what exactly Scripture is and where it fits within God’s work of salvation.