Saturday, 3 December 2011

Anachronistic Insufficiency

In Bible interpretation - the accusation is that the OT was often read anachronistically:
i.e. reading the NT back into the OT

the opponents against this stand by the fact that the OT is Christian Scripture - and therefore they are reading what is already there - and explicitly meant to be there

actually, I think the problem is we don't read Scripture relationally - as though the same Person(s) is speaking
and we have the knowledge that this Person(s) does not change

so in theory - we should read Scripture contextually (more about within the setting, rather than the 'extent of the revelation'), and then apply it both currently, exponentially in to the future, and anachronistically impose it onto the past - since the goal is to find out about the character of God Who does not change

it is also understanding the basis of the fact that humanity is inherently the same at the core - sinful  - and we merely see differential expressions of sin (and faith) according to culture

What do you think?


Anonymous said...

Could not agree more.

In exegesis context is pointed out again and again: a passage must be interpreted in context and part of this context is the aim/purpose of a particular text/passage.

This is then put in contrast to systematizing (ultimate sin...) which is thought of as taking liberties and 'reading a text into another'.

At the end of the day all we need to realize that the Scriptures speak with one voice towards one aim: showing the identity of God and his saving plan.
Then this aim/purpose can very well be used as an over arching interpretive framework for individual parts. of course there are nuances but only one over all aim.

Both exegetes and systematicians must agree on these basic premises...

Nicolai said...

I find it really refreshing to ponder why Scriptures are as they are, not just how they are.
Or, what kind of God would we end up with if various assumptions of liberal readings (as of Hegel's disciples) had just a bit of truth in them? Would we end up with the God who loved Jesus before the world began? Could we even say He really loved Him before the incarnation?

Paul Blackham said...

How can the writer of Hebrews know that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were motivated to live in tents by their desire for the new creation city of God, keeping their eyes fixed on Jesus the author and finisher of the faith... only from the immediate context of the words in Genesis?

The writer is quite deliberately allowing the full Biblical picture to inform and explain the actions and thoughts and words of the ancient church.

Real people are always much richer and more colourful and complicated than even the most detailed biography can ever portray. The deep beliefs and detailed thinking of a person that drove them to do what they did might not be spelled out in every incident in a biography, but if we know that person and understand their doctrines, then we can understand and explain what they were doing.

If we start with the reality of the Church as the true context for reading the Bible, then we look back to the ancient church and recognise that they are members of the same community, the same family. The Church has been built upon the same basic doctrines from the beginning of the world and therefore we read those ancient church members in terms of that solid, constant church doctrine.

It is ridiculous to read each one as if they were working it all out from scratch for themselves. No, we are reading about ancient Christians who were members of the Body of Christ - and we must bring that body of doctrine with us into our exegesis.