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Thursday, 17 March 2016

The Role of the Bible II

Seeing Judaism Anew: Christianity's Sacred Obligation,
Ed. Mary C. Boys, Rowman and Littlefield, 2002
Chapter 14, "Covenant and Conversion" (pp. 163-174), page 169-170

Sttarting to gain momentum, Joann Spillman now makes another assertion:

While Christians often differ concerning how to interpret scripture, the commonly insist on beginning with the most obvious meaning of biblical texts.

This is the approach the Jewish world calls p'shat, the plain meaning and the Jewish World's most famous commentator, Rashi is reknowned for exactly this ...

Many Christians are suspicious, and rightly so, of any approach that ignores the meaning of a biblical passage without its historical context.

It would be lovely if this were true, rather than simply an aspiration. Sadly, as we all know only too well, verses are all to often cited in isolation and accepted - with a proposed meaning or application - without question because, well, that's the Bible.

Such interpretations distort the meaning of a text in ways that cease to be readings from the text and become readings into the text.

Just because a text is used without its historical context doesn't necessarily mean that the interpretation is wrong. It may be, of course, but it may equally be used correctly.

If Christians read the Hebrew Scripture as referring directly and solely to Jesus Christ and read the promises of G-d to Israel only as promises to the church, they distort the meaning of the Hebrew Scripture and ignore its primary meaning in its historical context.

This last point seems valid - although there are those who insist upon solely Christological readings - but I'm not convinced that the scaffolding to get to this point is sound ... what do you think?

Posted By Jonathan, 9:00am Comment Comments: