Thursday, June 21, 2007

Hermeneutics of Trust

Reading through the Pope's new book on Jesus, and I found a most helpful discussion on what Richard Hays terms the hermeneutics of trust (See his article: Salvation by Trust? Reading the Bible Faithfully available from Religion Online).

The common practice today is to measure the Bible against the so-called modern worldview, whose fundamental dogma is that God cannot act in history – that everything to do with God is to be relegated to the domain of subjectivity. And so the Bible no longer speaks of God, the living God; no, now we alone speak and decide what God can do and what we will and should do. And the Antichrist, with an air of scholarly excellence, tells us that any exegesis that reads the Bible from the perspective of faith in the living God, in order to listen to what God has to say, is fundamentalism; he wants to convince us that only his kind of exegesis, the supposedly pure scientific kind, in which God says nothing and has nothing to say, is able to keep abreast the times.

The theological debate between Jesus and the devil is a dispute over the correct interpretation of Scripture, and it is relevant to every period of history. The hermeneutical question lying at the basis of proper scriptural exegesis is this: What picture of God are we working with? The dispute about interpretation is ultimately a dispute about who God is. Yet in practice, the struggle over the image of God, which underlies the debate about valid biblical interpretation, is decided by the picture we form of Christ: Is he, who remained without worldly power, really the Son of the Living God?[1]
Thus, the question over starting assumptions and how worldviews affect interpretation are always to be at the front of the researchers mind. How does my faith (presupposition), affect the way I read, understand and interpret? Does it prohibit me from accessing the truth? Or does it allow me to penetrate further into the mystery of what actually happened, because I am not constrained by the beast of doubt?
[1] Joseph Ratzinger, Jesus of Nazareth (Doubleday, 2007) pg. 35-36

No comments: