Modern and Postmodern Interpretation

The historical-critical method (modern)

The true meaning of a passage is the meaning intended by the original author (authorial intent)

Individual passages are products of different historical circumstances (historical context)

Ideas develop over time

Select tools within the historical-critical method

Archaeology - dig up remnants of ancient world

Social-scientific - economics, power, politics

Form criticism - small oral units for certain occassions

Source criticism - different documents and authors within a biblical book

Redaction criticism - editors made books out of various stories

Text criticism - comparing versions to distinguish original text from errors in copying

Postmodern biblical interpretation

Readerly interpretation - meaning is the interaction between the text and the reader

Author Text Reader Reader Reader

Many readers so many meanings

What the Bible means today or means to me may be different from what it meant to the original authors

Modern scholars claim to be neutral but everyone is biased so embrace your perspective