Hermeneutics

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    Bartholomew, Craig J.

     (189K)

    Three Horizons: Hermeneutics from the Other End―An Evaluation of Anthony Thiselton’s Hermeneutic Proposals

    "Anthony Thiselton has devoted his academic life thus far to illuminating this modern, and we might add ‘postmodern’, end of the problem of biblical interpretation. And he has done so with extraordinary and exemplary thoroughness, and must be ranked as one of the major contemporary Christian authorities on hermeneutics...This paper is an attempt to map out the overarching sweep of Thiselton’s proposals and to provide a preliminary critique from this perspective. There is a distinct disadvantage in getting a picture of the whole but of course it easily loses sight of the immense amount of detail that Thiselton’s texts contain. We will begin with a look at Thiselton’s view of how philosophy can help biblical hermeneutics, and then see how he develops these different means of help. Thereafter we will examine his proposal for a pastoral hermeneutics, which emerges in the postmodern context, before evaluating his work from this overarching perspective."
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    Blomberg, Craig L.

     (117K)

    The Globalization of Hermeneutics

    "Whatever one may think of the authors of the globalized interpretations I have given, one thing they all share is the firm conviction that they are unpacking the actual meaning and/or significance of the text. These are not representatives of those branches of liberationism or feminism or any other ideology that so often begin with praxis or impose their own artificial interpretive grids on certain passages. They have each done historical-grammatical research on the text and are convinced their interpretations are defensible at the level of the Biblical world. They merely believe that their own contemporary circumstances put them in closer touch with the setting of the texts they are investigating, so that analogies from their modern experiences stand a good chance of reflecting what the people in the Biblical world were experiencing as well."
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    Corduan, Winfried

     (286K)

    Humility and Commitment: An Approach to Modern Hermeneutics

    "Hermeneutics is known variously as an art or as a science. Its subject-matter is said to be interpretation or understanding. Regardless of the formal definition, hermeneutics is the study of how we come to know what a text means. Nowadays this study can be either descriptive―how understanding is possible―or prescriptive―what we should do in order to understand a text. This article has a twofold purpose. On the one hand it seeks to set the scene of some recent developments in philosophical hermeneutics. But it will also do so in the light of the more traditional role of hermeneutics, viz. to provide principles on how to arrive at the correct meaning of the text."
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    Fee, Gordon D.

     (139K)

    To What End Exegesis? Reflections on Exegesis and Spirituality in Philippians 4:10-20

    "The purpose of this lecture, which begins by tracing the author’s pilgrimage as an evangelical NT scholar, is to urge that the ultimate aim of exegesis is the Spiritual one―to produce in our lives and the lives of others true Spirituality, in which God’s people live in faithful fellowship both with one another and with the living God, and thus in keeping with God’s purposes in the world. It is further argued, therefore, that the exegesis of the biblical texts belongs primarily in the context of the believing community who are the true heirs of these texts. These concerns are then illustrated by an exegesis of Phil 4:10-20, where it is argued that the predicates of friendship and orality not only make sense of this passage in its present placement in Philippians, but are intended likewise to lead the community into the climactic theology and doxology of 4:19-20 as the letter is read in their midst."
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    Goldingay, John

     (163K)

    How Far Do Readers Make Sense? Interpreting Biblical Narrative

    "Over the past 30 years, the study of biblical narrative has kept changing its focus; as has often happened over the millenia, it has followed changing fashions in secular literary criticism, even if keeping a few years behind (though a decreasing few). During the 1960s, interpreting biblical narrative meant discovering who wrote it and what historical events it referred to...During the 1970s, however, many interpreters of narrative turned from questions about its origin and historical reference to renewed study of the narrative itself...During the 1980s, in turn, many of the interpreters who had enthused over the approaches of the ‘new criticism’ moved on from those questions, too, to the readers of the text...Each of these three sorts of question promises a different set of insights as well as presenting a different set of questions for someone who believes that the Bible tells God’s story and who wants to hear the biblical text speak in God’s name. My concern here is with the last of these approaches, reader-centred ones, the developing current fashion in biblical interpretation."
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    Laughery, Gregory J.

     (591K)

    Reading Ricoeur: Authors, Readers, and Texts

    "The aim of this article is to discuss the debate over authorial intention and reader response to the text, with specific reference to the work of Paul Ricoeur. Ricoeur has had, over the last twenty five years, a tremendous impact on the problematic of hermeneutics in general and Biblical hermeneutics in particular. His writings continue to stimulate interest, raise questions, and give rise to thought, hence, the merit of an analysis of his perspective."
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    Laughery, Gregory J.

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    Ricoeur on History, Fiction, and Biblical Hermeneutics

    "The contemporary debates over history writing and historians also have enormous repercussions for biblical truth, which in some sense, claims to be connected to real events in history. In addition to historical questions, there is another related dimension to our present context that merits consideration. Biblical interpretation is much influenced by the contemporary interest in literary criticism and narrative. The narrative turn has drawn the attention of literary theorists, philosophers, biblical exegetes, theologians and historians, becoming the object of intense debate. What is the relation, or lack thereof, between history and historical accounts of the past? How might narratives recount something about the real world? In the light of contemporary literary theories promoted by 'new wave' historians, how are we to view the biblical narratives? The present essay will reflect on and evaluate recent proposals that are at the heart of these questions."
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    Marshall, I. Howard

     (450K)

    The Problem of New Testament Exegesis

    "The problem of interpreting a passage from the Bible is one to which we would all like to find the key, some simple and easy formula that will enable us to approach any text of Scripture and quickly establish its meaning. Alas, there is no such simple answer, but it is possible to indicate some general principles and types of approach which will enable us to wrestle with the text and come to an understanding of it. The problem of course is not one confined to study of the New Testament or indeed of the Bible as a whole. It is part of the general problem ofhermeneutics, i.e. the attempt to understand anything that somebody else has said or written."
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    Murray, Robert

     (207K)

    Exegesis and Imagination

    "Yes, the dangers of letting imagination loose in exegesis are evident and grave. And yet―can exegesis achieve its fullest excellence unless it is enlivened by some element of imagination, first in approaching the text, and then in communicating something of its beauty or power? The literary critic will be in no doubt about the answer; and it is precisely the influence of critics trained in other fields of literature which, in recent years, has come to have a highly stimulating effect on the exegesis of both Old and New Testaments. New aspects of familiar texts have come to be seen as important and interesting, and new questions have sprung to life. Accuracy of linguistic and historical scholarship is as essential as ever, but it has become questionable whether to be ‘scientific’ was ever the appropriate ideal for exegesis."
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    Rae, Murray

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    Texts in Context: Scripture and the Divine Economy

    "In this article I investigate the phenomenon of hermeneutical plurality with respect to biblical texts. My purpose is to defend the legitimacy of claims that a scriptural text may speak in ways that diverge from the 'original meaning' of a text, so far as that may be discerned, but also to offer a theological account of the limits that must be set upon this hermeneutical freedom. I begin by locating my argument within the landscape of recent hermeneutical debates, go on to explore, as a case study, the text of Isa 52:13–53:12, and then develop a theological account of what is involved in speaking of the 'meaning' of a biblical text."
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    Stein, Robert H.

     (142K)

    Is Our Reading the Bible the Same As the Original Audience's Hearing It? A Case Study in the Gospel of Mark

    In a previous paper read at the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society entitled 'The Benefits of an Author-Oriented Approach to Hermeneutics' I sought to demonstrate the importance of maintaining that it is the author who determines the meaning of a text. I want to build on some of the implications of an author-oriented approach to hermeneutics and have chosen as the topic of this paper, 'Is Our Reading the Bible the Same as the Original Audience’s Hearing It?' The address is divided into two parts. The first is entitled 'The Intended Readers of Mark' and the second is entitled 'Consequences' or if we want a more detailed, Germanic-like title 'Consequences in the Goal of Interpretation as a Result of Understanding Mark’s Readers.'"
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    Stein, Robert H.

     (138K)

    The Benefits of an Author-Oriented Approach to Hermeneutics

    "I shall seek to argue in this paper that the determiner of meaning in the communicative process is the author...[A] text is an inanimate object. It is a collection of symbols on papyrus, vellum, paper, stone, metal, etc. A text consists of unthinking, lifeless material. Being lifeless and inanimate, it does not have the ability to think. It cannot construct a thought or an idea. Thus a text cannot 'mean' anything, because it cannot intend or purpose anything. Whereas a text can convey the meaning of a thinking, willing person, it cannot possess meaning in and of itself, because it cannot think. To ask 'What does this text mean?' is to ask of an inanimate object what it cannot do, that is, to construct a thought or idea. Authors and readers can think but not paper and ink, stone and groves, or papyrus and symbols. Thus I find it impossible to conceive of a text 'meaning' anything. Usually what people are saying when they speak of the meaning of a text is 'the meaning of the author that the text conveys'."