Introductions, Premodern Interpretation



Handout (LINK)

Three categories of biblical interpretation




Four assumptions of pre-modern biblical interpretation

  1. Cryptic - secret meanings beyond the plain sense
  2. Relevant (to us) - about us and our times
  3. Perfect -
    1. The story has no contradictions
    2. All the books of the Bible are one consistent series
    3. The characters are perfect
    4. Consistent with current beliefs
  4. Divine - emphasis on God as author

Modern responses

  1. Not cryptic... meaning would have been clear to the original audience
  2. Relevant to ancient historical context in which it was written
  3. Not perfect -
    1. Different authors contradict each other
    2. The books of the Bible are independent compositions
    3. Characters in the story had human flaws
    4. Beliefs developed over time within and beyond the bible
  4. Human - emphasis on the human process of telling the story

Background to reading for next time

Canon = official list (of books included in the Bible)