Introduction toThe Tools and Technology OfUnderstanding the Bible!
THE NEED FOR AN INTERPRETER: Acts 8: 30 – 35 “Do you understand what you are reading? “How can I, unless someone explains in to me.”DIFFICULT PASSAGES HAVE TO BE EXPLAINED TO AVOID DISTORTION: 2 Pt. 3:16“He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking to them in these matters.His letters contains some things THAT ARE HARD TO UNDERSTAND, which ignorant & unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to theirown destruction.” PROPHECY IN THE BIBLE IS NOT A PRIVATE MATTER: 2 Pt 1:20 “Above all you must understand that no prophecy of the Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation.”
•35. What is the literal sense of a passage is not always as obvious in thespeeches and writings of the ancient authors of the East, as it is in theworks of our own time. For what they wished to express is not to bedetermined by the rules of grammar and philology alone, nor solely by thecontext; the interpreter must, as it were, go back wholly in spirit to thoseremote centuries of the East and with the aid of history, archaeology,ethnology, and other sciences, accurately determine what modes of writing,so to speak, the authors of that ancient period would be likely to use, and infact did use.•36. For the ancient peoples of the East, in order to express their ideas, didnot always employ those forms or kinds of speech which we use today; butrather those used by the men of their times and countries. What thoseexactly were the commentator cannot determine as it were in advance, butonly after a careful examination of the ancient literature of the East. Theinvestigation, carried out, on this point, during the past forty or fifty yearswith greater care and diligence than ever before, has more clearly shownwhat forms of expression were used in those far off times, whether in poeticdescription or in the formulation of laws and rules of life or in recording thefacts and events of history. The same inquiry has also shown the specialpreeminence of the people of Israel among all the other ancient nations ofthe East in their mode of compiling history, both by reason of its antiquityand by reasons of the faithful record of the events; qualities which may wellbe attributed to the gift of divine inspiration and to the peculiar religiouspurpose of biblical history.
HERMENEUTICS The art and science of interpretation. COMPONENTS OF HERMENEUTICS 1. WORLD OF THE TEXT (The content itself of the issue, the object of analysis. Consider the elements thatsurround the issue, facts and figures, and the data that make up the issue, the manner of presentation.)
World of the TEXTFORM CRITICISM:It is necessary to determine its literary type or genre. NARRATIVE CRITICISM: Delivers the biblical message in the form of story with a plot – beginning, conflict, climax, and ending.LITERARY OR PHILOLOGICAL CRITICISM:(philo=love, logos=word)Study the original languages used in the Bible, coveringvocabularies, grammatical style, and the comparative usage of aword in parallel passages, or how the same word is used in otherbooks of the Bible. Example: NT: IPSISSIMA VERBA - Actual word spoken by Jesus
2. WORLD BEHIND THE TEXT(Look at the background of the issue, the factorsthat contributed why the issue is like that.Consider the culture, situation, setting, peopleinvolved, intentions and prevailing ideology)
World of the AUTHOR world behind the text HISTORICAL CRITICISM: • Studies the biblical text in the light of its historical and cultural context. • Involved in determining the author, date, audience & purpose of a given biblical book (source, form, redaction). TEXTUAL CRITICISM: It recovers or reconstructs the original composition of texts vis-à-vis the volume of divergent copies or versions Examples: Kng Dvd klld tht wckd prsn, th Phlstn Glth. Kng Dvd klld th mn. (Should we read “man” or “men”?) Kng Dvd lvd. (Should we read “loved” or “lived”?) SOURCE CRITICISM:Establish the sources which a given biblical writer may have used in compiling his work. Example: OT: Pentateuch-JEDP Traditions, NT: Gospels-Quelle REDACTION CRITICISM: The study of how the text was edited and how it developed according to the final editor’s point of view.
3. WORLD BEFORE THE TEXT(The application and significance today. What are the possible effects of theissue to us, to the contemporary oreven the future. In what way we canrelate to the issue?)
World of the READER world b4 d txtFEMINIST CRITICISM:Involves a reading of the text in, writing of an analysis, or reconstructing of history in the light of oppressive structures of patriarchal society. Gender Inclusiveness: •1985 New Jerusalem Bible •1986 New American Bible NT •1989 Revised English Bible •1990 New Revised Standard Version
There should be a symbiotic relationshipbetween Diachronic and Synchronic Reading. 1.3. Exegesis. Greek – exegeisthai, = to “draw out.” It is a method of drawing out: The original intention of the writer; The intended meaning for the readers whom the text was originally addressed. This method employs several approaches which we generally call Biblical Criticism. These tools explain the text by establishing it in its “real world.”
The symbiotic relationship between Exegesis andHermeneutics.Exegesis is not complete without itsderived meaning interpreted andapplied to real life of the reader. Hermeneutics would be a very tough job without first re-discovering the ‘world of the past’ because there is always the danger of ‘missing the point’ and the real meaning.Examples:Holocaust in Moses’ times (Lev 1:2-9)Jesus calms the storm (Mt 8:18)
Between the two extremes poles, other methods employvarious techniques and processes to extract explanations andmeanings from biblical texts. 1.3.1. Diachronic Reading (Greek – kronos = “through time”) studies the: Historical development or historicity of texts; E.g., Is it original or an interpolation? Has the text been edited? Cultural milieu where the text originated; E.g. Hebrew culture is colored by a deep sense of covenant with Yahweh (Ex 24). Traditions across the passage of time; E.g. Ritualistic worship (Ex 24:6-11) offerings (Lev 1:2-9) Basically, the “world behind the text.”
1.3.2. Synchronic Reading (Greek – “with time”)studies and analyzes the: Final form of the text as it appears to us, the readers. Language, composition, and the narrative structure of the text without particular interest to its historical background such as the life situation by the time the text was written. E.g. What is the plot of the story? Is there a narrative theme? Capacity for persuasion of the text. [E. Bragado & A. Monera, 1997: 32]
Etymology in Greek: ex = out of, ago = to lead, sis = a process Exegesis is a process of “leading, drawing out” the meaning from a text Etymology in Greek: eis = into, ago = to lead, sis = a processThe process of leading one’s own meaning into the text.
AUTHOR READERSENDER RECEIVER TEXT MESSAGE SENT
To be intelle ctually enlig htened… s ext fully grasped i Mea ning of the t f ed in the lives o fully actualiz it. appropriate readers who Personal Conversio n…
Tools for Biblical Interpretation (XL) (XR)Mythological Fundamentalist Approach Approach The Bible is abook of stories. Literalist Exegesis Eisegesisdrawing the putting yourmeaning out of meaning intothe text the text Historico-critical Method ancient record of Diachronic Synchronic events Reading Reading historicity, cultural final form of milieu, traditions the text
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