lingamish walks into the lion’s den (of hermeneutics) without his Alexandrian sword

I’m glad my last post encouraged David further to grab the hermeneutical bull by the horns: Exegetical Sketches: Alexander’s Sword. I think he’s been lurking in the bush planning his hunting strategy for some time now. David writes,

What I want to do in this blog series is give an overview of some alternative ways of doing Bible study in a Christian context. . . What [grammatical-historical interpretation] fails to address is the need for intuitive and populist ways to arrive at Scriptural meaning leading to appropriate localized applications. Biblical scholars use a variation of the phrase uttered by the farmer leaning on his fence who tells the city slickers, “You can’t get there from here.” Instead, the experts in essence say, “You can’t get there from here. But I can. So don’t even bother to interpret the Bible since its far too complex for amateurs like you.” This doesn’t mean that academics have no say. On the contrary, the seminaries and scholar are crucial through their indirect influence at the highest levels. But I want to forget about the ivory towers for a moment and focus on the trenches.

Here’s a brief summary of each method:

  1. Alexander’s Sword: Abandoning in-depth exegesis for relativistic readings anchored by tradition and divine guidance.
  2. Bad Boy Bible Study: Reenvision the Old Testament as a collection of bad examples and villains rather than a catalog of models and heroes.
  3. Parabolic interpretation: Shun allegory and look for the punch line.
  4. The Three Stories: Their story. Our story. God’s story.

I liked this quote:

…You can explain it as a sort of spiritual natural selection in which the religious system most adaptable to the environment prevails. While proponents of GHI (and I consider myself in that category) will argue that careful exegesis is the safeguard against improper hermeneutics, we also assume that application will be highly localized and distinctive rather than homogenous. With that in mind we should be concerned rather than consoled if we see believers in another culture or epoch applying the Bible in the same way as us…

Wander over to Alexander’s Sword and add your two cents (or whatever they call them in Mozambique; it’s kwachas in nearby Malawi). I’ve already thrown in mine.

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3 thoughts on “lingamish walks into the lion’s den (of hermeneutics) without his Alexandrian sword

  1. David Ker says:

    Thanks a lot for your plug and extended comment at my blog. I’m still chewing on the Alexander’s Sword in action post. I think Henry Neufeld named it very well calling this a series on populist exegesis. Another term might be “pragmatic exegesis” in other words, this is what naturally happens so how might it be God’s chosen method for interpretation.

  2. […] Ben Byerly: lingamish walks into the lion’s den (of hermeneutics) without his Alexandrian sword […]

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