Lecture 1 intro to interpreting scripture.txt
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Recognize what these statements are expressing : Inscripturation is God’s causing an author to write down Scripture.Just as Jesus was completely human as well as completely God, so is the Bible a totally human book as was God’s infallible Word that speaks with God’s authority. It is a mystery how Jesus is both man and God and how Scripture is both human literature and God’s Word.
There is a parallel between the Incarnation and inscripturation
Recognize what these statemtents are expressing : God’s Word follows the rules of human literature and language. God speaks in the human languages of Hebrew and Aramaic in the Old Testament and Greek in the New Testament. God inspired each author to write using the linguistic and literary rules of language and in a specific time in history and culture (Hebrew and Greco-Roman).
That the Word of God comes to us in the words of human literature
List (in 1 word each) the three primary types of distance between the original audience and today’s audience.
What word does this define? “as today’s audience, we build upon the insights of exegesis and seek to understand and appropriate (apply) the meaning of Scripture texts for ourselves within our own historical and cultural context and to be changed by the message of the texts. It seeks to bridge the gap between today’s audience and the original author and original audience.”
What deals with the challenge of recapturing the meaning of texts whose “world of meaning” is at a great distance from ours—particularly differences of time, culture, and language?
The “hermeneutical problem”
What is this statement describing? “to appropriate (apply) the meaning of texts for ourselves within our own historical and cultural context and, from a theological point of view, to be changed by the message of the texts and seeks to bridge the gap between the original author and audience and today’s audience”
The goal of hermeneutics
What is this statement describing? “to understand the original intended meaning of the biblical author and focuses on what the text meant to the original audience then and there”
The goal of exegesis
What word is this defining? “ we seek to understand what the original author meant to convey to the original audience by paying close and constant attention to Scripture’s literary and historical contexts”
Explain (in 3 paragraphs): the “exegetical circle” (Sect. 4.1), the inverted triangle approach of exegesis (Sect. 4.2), and the two kinds of context we are generally and constantly thinking of in exegesis
- The exegetical circle
- Exegetical understanding involves comparing the constituent parts of a text with the whole and the whole with its parts until the meaning of the text comes clearly into view.
- Study the parts in light of the whole and the whole in light of its parts over and over until the message of the text becomes clearer and clearer.
- inverted triangle
- Analyze the text from a hierarchical perspective, starting at the smallest level (words) and working up to the highest level (thesis of book):
- Thesis of Book – the dominant theme or the big message of the book. Summarize the thesis in one sentence.
- Major Literary Units – natural major units of the text that support its dominant theme. Pauline letters typically have 3-5 major literary units or themes. Clusters of paragraphs hang together around a theme. Write each theme in 1 sentence.
- Minor Literary Units – e.g., one or more paragraphs. For each paragraph, write a 1-sentence summary (one sentence per paragraph).
- Words – the basic units of meaning. Look for conspicuous, key words.
- In exegesis, we are generally and constantly thinking about two kinds of context
- Exegesis’ goal is to determine the intended meaning of the original author to the original audience by analyzing:
- Literary context (the black on the page)
- Always ask, “What kind of literature, or genre, is the text?” We do this intuitively by reading various genres differently. We adjust our reading strategy depending on the text’s genre (e.g., we read a poem differently than a scientific treatise). Each genre has informal rules and guidelines for reading it. Much of the Bible is historical narrative (“story”), which we read differently from the epistles/letters.
- Historical context (the white on the page)
- The historical context forms the larger context for the text. Understanding it is critical for responsible, rather than arbitrary, interpretation. A purely inductive Bible study method for analyzing the literary context is good, but is not adequate by itself. It is half the task, not the whole task. We also need to understand the historical context.
- For example, Stoic philosophers wrote household codes for relationships between husband and wife, parent and children, master and slave. Paul adopted and adapted these household codes; he added subtle changes that set a new trajectory of mutual respect and freedom within the husband/wife and master/slave relationships.
- A good, overall strategy for exegesis
- 1. Determine the genre.
- 2. Do an exegetical circle analysis (between the parts and the whole).
- 3. Study the historical and cultural background.
Explain (in 2 sentences) the concept “all meaning is context dependent”
Words are like buckets: we fill them and empty them with meaning. That is, words get their meaning from the way they are used in sentences, and those, in turn, get their particular meaning from their wider contexts.
List (in 1 phrase each) the five types of context and describe each type in 1 sentence
- 1.Multiple meanings: C ommonly understood words usually have multiple meanings.
- 2.“Performative” meaning: the meaning or significance of an utterance may depend on the speaker, audience, and situation (“the total speech situation,” J.L. Austin)—in other words, what social move is made or performed by the utterance within a given context?
- 3.Figurative meaning: sentences can be metaphorical or figurative (not literal)
- 4.Coded meaning: sentences may include historical references, however subtle
- 5.Evaluative meaning: meaning often depends on the cultural attitudes of the original author and original audience towards behavior (i.e., value judgments)
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