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Dr. Lauren Smelser White: Flesh Made Word

Delineates the individualist “interpretation problem” that has long beset Protestant biblical interpretation.

By Janel Shoun-Smith | 

Lauren White

Flesh Made Word: The Protestant Interpretation Problem and an Embodied Hermeneutic

Dr. Lauren Smelser White (Lipscomb Assistant Professor of Theology)
Fortress Academic, 2022

This book delineates the individualist “interpretation problem” that has long beset Protestant biblical interpretation and engages theological resources that could serve to move beyond it.

Lauren White Book Cover

White argues that readers of Scripture—specifically those who long to submit their lives to God's transforming Word, which they believe the Bible discloses—ought to reckon with the participatory role that human bodies (corporeal and corporate) play in producing revelation’s norms. Such a reckoning need not entail giving up on Scripture delivering the life-changing address of a divine Other.

In support of that claim, White distills a picture of revelation as a divine-human discursive encounter: a process wherein our hermeneutic constructions are incorporated into the Word’s self-disclosure, and whereby interpreters who embrace this venture in vulnerability may experience graced transformation. 

She concludes by proposing that this “Christomorphic” interpretation process is analogous to a mother’s embodied responsiveness in caring for her child. Such a hermeneutic paradigm suggests distinctive commitments from communities who desire to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in interpretive acts.

White’s scholarship has focused on the intersections of hermeneutic praxis, systematic theology and theological aesthetics.