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“What does it Mean?” Hermeneutics: The Science of Interpretation David Moseley, Ph.D.

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Presentation on theme: "“What does it Mean?” Hermeneutics: The Science of Interpretation David Moseley, Ph.D."— Presentation transcript:

1 “What does it Mean?” Hermeneutics: The Science of Interpretation David Moseley, Ph.D.

2 Also Sprach Zarathustra Richard Strauss

3 What does the Bible Say…? “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness…” (II Timothy 3:16) “Texts of Terror”  Holiness Code of Torah  Cultural Institutions Condoned by Scripture  Is the Bible “Scientific”? What does Jesus say on Crucial issues?



6 How do we Interpret a Text? All Dimensions of our Experience are Subject to Interpretation

7 Which Animal is This?




11 V-Sign?







18 Music & Meaning


20 Born in the U.S.A. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band Born down in a dead man's town The first kick I took was when I hit the ground You end up like a dog that's been beat too much Till you spend half your life just covering up Born in the U.S.A. I was born in the U.S.A. I was born in the U.S.A. Born in the U.S.A. Got in a little hometown jam So they put a rifle in my hand Sent me off to a foreign land To go and kill the yellow man Born in the U.S.A. I was born in the U.S.A. I was born in the U.S.A. Born in the U.S.A. Come back home to the refinery Hiring man says "Son if it was up to me" Went down to see my V.A. man He said "Son don't you understand now" I had a brother at Khe Sahn fighting off the Viet Cong They're still there, he's all gone He had a woman he loved in Saigon I got a picture of him in her arms now Down in the shadow of the penitentiary Out by the gas fires of the refinery I'm ten years burning down the road Nowhere to run ain't got nowhere to go Born in the U.S.A. I was born in the U.S.A. Born in the U.S.A. I'm a long gone Daddy in the U.S.A.

21 Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds The Beatles Follow her down to a bridge by a fountain, Where rocking horse people eat marshmallow pies. Everyone smiles as you drift past the flowers, That grow so incredibly high. Newspaper taxis appear on the shore, Waiting to take you away. Climb in the back with your head in the clouds, And you're gone. Lucy in the sky with diamonds… Picture yourself on a train in a station, With plasticine porters with looking glass ties. Suddenly someone is there at the turnstile, The girl with kaleidoscope eyes. Picture yourself in a boat on a river, With tangerine trees and marmalade skies. Somebody calls you, you answer quite slowly, A girl with kaleidoscope eyes. Cellophane flowers of yellow and green, Towering over your head. Look for the girl with the sun in her eyes, And she's gone. Lucy in the sky with diamonds, Lucy in the sky with diamonds, Lucy in the sky with diamonds, Ah... Ah...

22 “Lucy - in the Sky with Diamonds” Drawing by Julian Lennon (1966)

23 Interpreting the Bible Genesis 22

24 Interpreting the Bible John 1

25 George Washington???

26 George Washington

27 The Life of Washington (1809) by Parson Weems

28 Apotheosis of Washington

29 Paul Revere???

30 Paul Revere

31 The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere (1860) by Henry Longfellow

32 Israel Bissell’s Four-Day 345 Mile Ride

33 Medieval Epistemology Pre-Modern Paradigm of Imago Dei God Humanity Revelation

34 René Descartes (1596-1650) “Cogito, Ergo Sum”

35 Modern Epistemology Modern Paradigm of Cartesian Epistemology God Reason Humanity

36 The Enlightenment I. Reason II. Nature III. Autonomy IV. Harmony Immanuel Kant, What is Enlightenment? (1784) “Sapere Aude!”

37 Biblical Studies in the Early Nineteenth Century The Challenge of Reason to Biblical Interpretation  Thomas Jefferson’s New Testament Two Schools of Biblical Studies in the Early Nineteenth Century: I. Supernaturalism – Bible is Literal / Historical Truth = Fundamentalism II. Naturalism – Bible Stories have “Natural” Explanations = Rationalism Limitations of these Two Schools of Thought

38 Hermeneutics Friedrich Schleiermacher (1768-1834) “Hermeneutics” is the Science of Interpretation GGGGrammatical HHHHistorical / Psychological

39 “Worldviews” Wilhelm Dilthey (1833-1911) “Weltanschauung” - The framework of Ideas and Beliefs through which an Individual Interprets the World and Interacts in it

40 Principles of Hermeneutics Text – Genre of Object of Study Isegesis – Reading Into the Text PPPPre-Text – Our Perspective CCCContext – Contemporary Setting of Text Exegesis – Reading out of the Text “Hermeneutical Circle”

41 I. Genre

42 How was the Bible Written? Pre-Literate Culture Oral Transmission Reliability of Oral Tradition ?

43 GENRE: What type of Book is the Bible? Bible = Biblia (Books) Different Genres of Writing Different Genres in Scripture: (Pre-)HistoryLaw PoetryWisdom ProphecyBiography LettersApocalypse

44 David Friedrich Strauss (1808-1874)

45 The Life of Jesus Critically Examined (1835-37) Strauss sought a “Third Way” in Biblical Interpretation (beyond Supernaturalism vs. Naturalism) Myth = When the Historical or Literal Truth is less important than the Symbolic or Moral Truth

46 King Christian X of Denmark

47 Strauss’ Understanding of Myth Human Beings are “Mythopoeic” – People like to Hear or Create Myths to Express Truth “Unconscious Mythicizing Principle” at work in the Production of the Gospels “DeMythologize” - All that matters is the Symbolic or Moral Truth

48 Have we Outgrown Myths?

49 Narnia Movies $2 Billion…so far…

50 Matrix Movies $2.5 Billion

51 Spiderman Movies $3 Billion and counting…

52 Batman Movies $4 Billion

53 Lord of the Rings Movies $4.5 Billion

54 Star Wars Movies $5 Billion

55 Harry Potter Movies $8.5 Billion and counting…

56 Biggest Movies of All Time…

57 Titanic $2 Billion A True Myth!

58 Avatar $2.3 Billion and counting… a.k.a. Pocahontas II

59 Who Needs Myths?

60 II. Isegesis

61 Michelangelo da Caravaggio (1571-1610)





66 Pre-Text - Isegesis: What do we bring to Scripture? Our Lives and Experiences Our Presuppositions about the Bible Our Scholarship Our “Ideologies” and Worldviews  S S S Social  P P P Political  E E E Economic  C C C Cultural PPPPsychological

67 Context: Reconstructing Contemporary Culture Placing Statements in Context For Example: “This is a Great Course”

68 The Parable of the Talents

69 III. Exegesis

70 Exegesis: Interpretation Different Approaches to Scripture  I I I Interpretation starts in Scripture  H H H Historically  C C C Conceptually

71 Anglican Hermeneutics Richard Hooker’s “Three-Legged Stool” 1. S cripture 2. T radition 3. R eason The Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity (1594)

72 Barthian Hermeneutics Swiss Theologian Karl Barth (1886-1968) God is Transcendent – “Wholly Other” However, “God Speaks!” Threefold Communication/Revelation of the Word of God: I.Primary Revelation: The Self-Witness of God in History  Creation – Covenant – Law & Prophecy – Incarnation (Climax) II. Secondary Revelation: The Scriptural Witness  The Testaments of the Prophets and Apostles III. Tertiary Revelation: The Church’s Witness  Proclamation of Truth of God’s Self-Revelation as Witnessed to in Bible

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