Hermeneutics and Authority are massive issues in both Church and Theology in the contemporary world. While hermeneutics is both a science & an art, the question of authority and how these two relate is a philosophy. A philosophy that is being seriously discussed and debated. In his book Slaves, Women & Homosexuals: Exploring the Hermeneutics of Cultural Analysis, William J. Webb draws out some of the serious problems with interpreting the scriptures based on a purely literalist method. He leads you through the maze of interpretation that has historically surrounded understanding of slaves, women and homosexuals, and he evaluates various approaches to these and other biblical-ethical teachings. You can read a few chapters online:
I mention this book here cause I'm grappling with Eddies paper: Authority and Hermeneutics. It looks set to be an engaging read by my very own nemesis, who I will be taking out for a serious Hot Choc @ C I M A cafe in Auckland, in just a few weeks from now, where we will discuss EVERYTHING from hermeneutics to Jesus studies to the emerging church to snow-boarding!