Monday, March 19, 2012

Self-defeating Hermeneutics

Husserl, Heidegger, Gadamer, Thiselton, Osborne, and Vanhoozer - they have all helped us take seriously the role of preunderstandings (alias: worldview or metanarrative) in the process of interpretation and getting at meaning. Concerning these preunderstandings and the human framework of understanding, Moises Silva goes against the flow of many a theological hermeneutics professor when he writes in Foundations of Contemporary Interpretation, "These ideas (concerning preunderstandings) have immediate consequences for the way we interpret the Bible and do theology. The common insistence that we should approach the text without any prior ideas regarding its meaning becomes almost irrelevant. And the standard advice given to theological students to study the text before consulting commentaries, or to determine its meaning before considering its application, appears self-defeating." Hmm, not what I heard in seminary. Or the sanctuary.

Moises Silva, ed. Foundations of Contemporary Interpretation (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1996) 21. 

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