In the latest RBL e-mail two reviews of a single reception related volume are flagged. Beate Kowalski's Die Rezeption des Propheten Ezechiel in der Offenbarung des Johannes
is a good example of one of the most prominent occurrences of reception thinking in New Testament Studies, the question of just how the New Testament authors related to the earlier Jewish scriptures (and other 'texts'?) as they formulated their own works. Were they being primarily 'impacted upon' by these earlier texts or were they rather 'users' of them? And how significant was the 'text' itself as opposed to the text in use?
The skills developed through wrestling with these questions by New Testament scholars can fairly easily be transferred into the post-New Testament arena, but this doesn't seem to happen nearly as much as it should. Perhaps its just a case of it being a strange territory with a whole new vocabulary to learn (I can't argue with specialism as a increasingly big problem). But, as I've said before, the history of exegesis is a big country that deserves serious research. And for anyone interested in how these texts can be used today, failure to engage in at least some study of the history of a text's interpretation seems a good way to guarantee a shallow appropriation today.
As you can see, I am no fan of 'ditch hermeneutics', the creation of a 'what it meant' and the belief that that meaning must be appropriated today despite the history of interpretation. But that mentality does seem to me to be another prominent reason why some contemporary New Testament scholarship feels able to skip the last two thousand years. The sooner we begin to realise that modern New Testament scholarship is merely the latest mode of reception, the better of we will all be
(enjoyed that rant :)