Sure Guy/Grey Guy Quotes

The following were quotes I found today in my reading of Klein and Blomberg’s, Introduction to Biblical Interpretation.

First, a quote on different interpretations of a text in light of a grey meaning.

But there is a middle ground between claiming absolute objectivity and denying that in many cases we can attain adequate understanding of the meaning of a text. N.T. Wright and B. Meyer have both argued persuasively that interpreters should embrace “critical realism,” an approach that involves the dialogical process between interpreter and texts in which one successfully approximates true meaning, even if never comprehensively capturing it (or knowing that one has). The image of a hermeneutical spiral – like a cone-shaped tornado zeroing in one one small spot on the ground – or that of an asymptote or a hyperbola, coming very close to the vertical or horizontal lines of its axes without ever actually touching them, helps us to visualize this model (Matt’s interjection: for a great diagram of this model, see Scot McKnight’s great book, The Jesus Creed, and simply flip the pages until you see the diagram). The flip side of this approach is that while we may not always be able to determine one and only one correct or even simply the most correct interpretation of a given text, we can usually rule out many as improbable.

The last sentence well summarizes the thought, but I insert the whole quote for context (well and the street cred that N.T. Wright brings).

The second quote supports my previous thesis’ in the comments of previous posts about the confusion of “interpretation” and “application.”

In some cases, what pass for competing interpretations should probably be viewed as alternative applications… original meaning remains fixed, even as contemporary significance varies… But we must subject our cherished preconceptions of the meanings of texts to the challenges of new data and new perspectives that acknowledge the potential of objectivity.

Okay, I will paraphrase that quote. Meaning doesn’t change, it is constant (fixed) and transcends culture. Application, however, can and does change, is far from fixes and is culturally contingent. Be careful though, you yourself bring many preconceptions/preunderstandings which you view the text with. While this alteration (your preunderstandings) will affect the interpretation, we must hold the tension that this makes our understanding subjective while opening up new possibilities for objectivity that might not have existed due to the preconceptions of previous generations.

Sound good. I thought so. Sorry for being so geeked out lately, been doing a lot of studying.



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