A friend of my has a nice essay on the role of scripture and tradition in the evangelical context. See here: Tradition & Scripture: How Tradition Can Contribute to Evangelical Alchemy. Responding the the abuse of sola scriptura, he promotes the concept of prima scriptura. I’ve not read much [ok, nothing] in the area of sola vs prima, but it seems like sola presents the ideal while prima captures what actually happens. That is, we say we rely on the Bible alone for our theology, but so much of our interpretation of the Bible is mediated through tradition, whether we admit it or not. (See Gadamer and Jauss on the place that our historical position plays in our interpretation). Thus, while we critique tradition based on the Biblical witness, we are inherently biased interpreters of scripture.
In another area, it seems that the progeny of the Reformers were the ones who took sola scriptura too far. Calvin and Luther were both very connected to patristic writers, allowing their theology to be very formative, but their progeny seemed to move further on the spectrum than what their mentors modeled. This I think was also heavily influenced by the enlightenment and the historical-critical method of ignoring tradition as well (See Louth’s Discerning the Mystery). But, I don’t know reformation history at all, so I could be off with that. By the way, here’s Vatican II’s take on Scripture and tradition.
Anybody got any thoughts to argue for one or the other? I’m working on the justification for my thesis methodology–why is it good to re-interpret Paul in light of patristic exegesis of him. I doubt I’ll go too far into sola vs prima since this debate is more ecclesiastical in nature, but it’s a close corrollary.