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Hoosier Musings on the Road to Emmaus

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Systematics Journal Entry #3

We continued our work in the three books we began for Monday, this time reading the sections in each text that deal primarily with the interpretation of scripture and the concept of revelation. There were several points of agreement between the books regarding the former. None of them gave much credence to the idea of scriptural inerrancy, for example; all saw the need for interpretive study, for awareness of historical/contextual influence, and for what Migliore terms “both a hermeneutics of trust and a hermeneutics of suspicion.” (p. 51) The differences were the emphasis placed by each author.

Williams speaks at length of the historicity of the canon, referring to “the world of scripture [as] an historical world in which meanings are discovered and recovered in action and encounter.” (p. 30)

Feminist theologian Sandra Schneiders endorses more of a “reader response” model of criticism, and urges “scrupulous translation... rhetorical analysis... and reinterpreting with feminist sensibilities texts dealing with women... which have been distorted or trivialized in the male-dominated exegetical and homiletic tradition.” (p. 51).

Migliore stresses the importance of biblical study and analysis contextually within the church, interpreting “in the context of the memory and hope of the Christian community,” being “open to the instruction and insights of the larger community of faith, past and present.” (p. 54)

While I see merit in the distinctions that each perspective brings to the hermeneutical discussion, I find I prefer Migliore’s approach. Working within the faith community-- not only my own congregation, but the community of believers that is the larger Body of Christ-- provides understanding that I could not possibly achieve on my own, as well as a system of “checks and balances” that I believe is vital to both understanding faith and living it.


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