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how to tell the biblical story in a way that makes a difference

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It is then just plain common sense to read an ancient text, written in an ancient language, in relation to its linguistic, literary, and historical context. That is what a historicalreading is, by definition. It is different from a theological reading, which operates largely without meaningful reference to linguistic, literary, and historical context.

And this is why your views are held by so few? It is because so few people possess plain common sense? That is a significant over simplification in my humble opinion. The grammatico-historical method, held by the overwhelming majority of evangelicals would agree that we must always examine the socio-historical setting, linguistics, genre, etc in our efforts to understand the text. But your definition is different, new, perhaps even radical. Hence, the new kid always must prove himself. Moreover, I am not saying the narrative approach has nothing whatever to commend it. Like socio-science criticism, it has the ability to enrich our undersanding. But to elevate it to a place of prominence, to make it our interpretive paradigm is highly questionable, and seriously problematic in my view. Finally, theological readings do NOT operate without meaningful reference to these tools. That simply is not true. They are bound up together and it is a false dichotomy to create such a hard divorce between them. We have learned a similar lesson in philosophy with the problem of criterion and the relationship between ontology and epistemology.

I think of this as an “evangelical” program because it holds to a New Testament understanding of the “gospel” as an announcement to Israel and the nations about the coming eschatological transformation.

Fundamental to evangelicalism is a high view of Scripture and a high Christology. Your view rejects both. Hence, it is not evangelical. You are guilty of bifurcating on the term.

The quotation of Isaiah 40:3 and Malachi 3:1 raises the question, but as I pointed out, the answer provided is that Jesus as Son of Man is given the authority to forgive, judge, rule, etc. It is never asserted that he has such authority, that he is kyrios by nature.

Mal. 3:1-3 Behold I am going to send MY messenger, and he will clear the way before ME. And the Lord, WHO YOU SEEK, will suddenly come to His temple:

Now this is clearly Mark’s reference. And Malachi is clearly saying that God is coming to His temple. Adon is never used with the article where it does not refer to THE LORD GOD! He says the Lord whom you seek. Clearly Malachi is speaking for God Himself. Mark says this is that! In other words, Jesus is God come to His temple. The Son of Man is given authority refers to the servant, the human perspective of the Christ, not the divine. It also provides for human accomodation. Surely you are aware of this understanding.

We are talking about Mark, but in my hermeneutic, it is illegitimate to look at any one document in a silo. The entire corpus of Scripture is viewed as a unified whole with one message to humanity. It is unsafe to divide the Word of God as if God is schizophrenic. We begin with an immediate text and work out from there in order to valdiate our understanding of the text using sound exegetical principles. In addition, there are no atheological readings of the Scripture. In other words, the attempt at a pure historical reading of the text, especially a religious text, and especially this religious text in particular is an unattainable goal. I will say more about that below.

As a blanket statement that is patently untrue. What about Jewish hermeneutical methods? What about the hermeneutics of a fourfold medieval exegesis? The theological reading of the New Testament which you apply is just as much a hermeneutical method as the historical method—arguably more so. The Bible is a collection of historical texts, and the hermeneutical starting point has to be to read them historically.

Do you mean the kind of Jewish hermeneutical methods that accused Jesus of being demon possessed, attempted to embarrass and stone him, and eventually lied about him and had him crucificed? Yes, I am confortable saying that all Jewish hermeutical methods that resulted in a rejection of Jesus’ claim to be the unique Son of God, the Messiah, God of very God, were in fact, and are in fact hostile to God. Jesus told them Himself that they were of their father the devil. He told them that they were clearly in error because they did not understand Scripture. In how many ways did Jesus rebuke Jewish interpretive paradigms of His day? I cannot count them. Is that the method we should adopt? The one the murdered the Christ? The one that Paul said considered the gospel to be scandalous? Jesus stood in front of the Jewish nation, the one whose hermeneutic you seem to think we ought to emulate, and turned from them because they rejected the Christ. It seems to me that if their hemeneutic was so spot on, they would have recognized and embraced their King. They did not. It seems to me to be highly problematic to affirm the very hermeneutical methods that rejected the Christ and were responsible for murdering Him.

The goal of attaining a purely historical reading of the text is impossible. It should be abandoned for the utter folly that it is. No one approaches the Scriptures without some theological bias. To say we do is naive at best and disingenuous at worse. Scripture itself teaches us that men are hostile to God. The natural man is not able to discern spiritual matters. The divine revelation of Scripture is indeed a spiritual matter.

I applaud advances in hermeneutics that legitimately seek to enrich our understanding and build upon those things we have spent 2,000 years learning. I am by no means an advocate of uncritical approaches to the text. But when a new critical kid shows up, claiming he has found something that no one else before him ever thought of and it changes everything, I cannot help but subject that kid to heavy scrutiny. Many of these new kids on the block are children of discontentment, unhappy with the current state of affairs. Most of them do not like some aspect of the God that Scripture reveals, and they seek for ingenious ways to reinvent Him. The OT stories are just too bloody, unjust, and utterly incredible to be true. In short, many of these movements are the products of men who don’t like God very much and they desperately want to change Him into a being that they can adore and appreciate, while still hanging on their sinful desire for rational and moral autonomy.