Tuesday, December 08, 2009

A Hermeneutic of Trust

Just some thoughts, not yet processed into proper prose.

1. A hermeneutic of trust approaches a text with the intention of taking it at face value, assuming that a text is a means of communication between (at least) two people.

2. A hermeneutic of trust takes seriously the nature of the text in question, looking carefully for indications of genre and statements of purpose (implicit or explicit). It seeks to read and interpret a text within the established 'rules' of genre.

3. A hermeneutic of trust is justified de facto by the need human beings have to rely on the testimony of others for both everyday and scientific knowledge; it is justified de jure by the revealed fact that ultimate reality is personal, making personal testimony of ultimate significance.

4. A hermeneutic of trust rejects individualistic approaches to epistemology. Knowledge is a collective enterprise, and testimony is central to that enterprise.

5. A hermeneutic of trust takes the character of the author seriously, at two levels. Firstly, it privileges the author in interpreting the text, seeking to discern the author's intention. Secondly, it asks concerning the moral character of the author, in so far as this has a bearing on the trustworthiness of the text.

6. A hermeneutic of trust steers a middle course between naivety and cynicism, following Ricoeur's principle: "first, trust the word of others, then doubt if there are good reasons for doing so".

1 comment:

  1. Good luck in your endeavors. Interpreting the scriptures is certainly a challenge. After 40 years of independent study and being 77 years of age, my interest is no longer in money or fame. It is in the betterment of this world for our children and our children's children. In the early part of this decade I wrote a number of articles for the National Herald, the English edition of this Greek newspaper which is headquartered in Queens, New York. My years of investigations told me that the 4 Gospels were written using double meanings, play on words and oxymorons. Crazy? Perhaps, but given your interest in the interpretation of the Bible, you may want to consider this concept. I'll provide only a very view examples here. In John 5:1 Jesus goes to Jerusalem to attend a feast. He discovers a man who has been an invalid for 38 years. Jesus heals him and tells him to take up his mat and walk. The man does just that. He is healed. The event took place on the Sabbath; the law, of course, did not permit work on the Sabbath and the Pharisees told the man that since it was the Sabbath, the law did not permit him to carry his mat. He told the Pharisees that the man who healed him told him to pick up his mat and walk. Obeying, he was no longer a "cripple." In reality, he was no longer crippled ... by the law! In John 9:1 we read of the healing of a blind man. Discovering that the man was healed on the Sabbath, the Pharisees insist that Jesus is not a man of God since He performed work on the holy day. After beomg examined by the Pharisees the man is told by Jesus, "For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see that that those who see will become blind." Can it be that the blind man was spiritually blind? The man saw what was the obvious -- the Jewish laws were keeping him "blind." This is no different than the play on words we knew as children: The blind carpenter picked up a hammer and saw. In Matthew 23:16-27 Jesus calls the Pharisees blind -- five times! It was there teachers and followers of the law that were being called blind. Those "healed" by Jesus were "blind" as the Pharisees -- until they saw the "light." They saw that the law was keeping them "blind." The Pharisees unlike the man who was "healed," remained "blind" -- spiritually blind! All this applies also to health and sickness, life and death and much, much more.

    Respectfully submitted
    Emmanuel J. Karavousanos