“One of the issues that we may not ever be able to resolve satisfactorily is whether a text has a meaning, or whether a text's meaning is always subject to one's interpretation. I hold to an inductive and non-exhaustive version of the former. In my understanding, texts have meaning (original authorial intent), which is reasonably clear given a standard methodology; and when unclear, the reason for unclarity is usually evident.”(Italics mine) I want to gently and respectfully point out that this statement is very frustrating to me. You claim the high ground of “texts have meaning” as opposed to them needing interpretation, and then you include interpreting in your description of “texts have meaning”. Which is it!? You can’t just slip that in the back door like that! If you are going to claim texts have a meaning that is not subject to interpreting (as your dichotomy certainly does) then your interpreting is excluded along with everyone else’s. You also say there is some “issue” that can’t be resolved when there is nothing of the sort. EVERYONE HERE agrees that texts have a meaning (original authorial intent). EVERYONE HERE (including you Jeff) agrees that texts are interpreted. If you want to exclude yourself from the later group that kind of thinking reminds me of talking to my brother in law about the perpetual virginity of Our Lady. Him: “Matt. 1:25 says “he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son.” That means he DID know her after that!” Me: “No it does not say that. You are making the text say something it is not saying.” Him: “Matt. 1:25 says “he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son.” That means he DID know her after that!” Me: “The final verse of Matthew says “And surely I am with you always, UNTIL (heos, the same Greek word) the very end of the age."” Him: “Matt. 1:25 says “he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son.” That means he DID know her after that!” Me: “Mmmm kay then.” He would say the text has one meaning and that I am just interpreting it how I want and ignoring the truth of it. He would say he is not “interpreting” but just letting it speak. I should just “let God’s word speak for itself”. The way you say something is reasonably clear given a standard methodology” is exactly what he is doing, his is just a less complex “methodology” than you would use. I think at the point I read your statement here Jeff, I really think the discussion went off a cliff. You will perhaps try to qualify your words, but I think your methodology is the same as my brother in law, but cast in a much more intelligent and erudite mold. But other than a more scholarly hermeneutic and lexical analysis, and more theological knowledge, I see no difference in your method. *Note: I got the hilarious picture here.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Reformed solo Scriptura in action
The following is from a comment I left on Jeff Cagle's blog: Here is Jeff: