The philosophy of textual interpretation.

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How can we ensure a given “chiasm” was intentional by the author, and is not merely fanciful eisegesis?

What is 'chiasm'? Chiasm is a literary technique by which the contents of a portion of text are structured in such a way that they could be laid out in a ">" shape... A) This is an example of a ...
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Does Genesis 1:14 Talk About Astrology?

I'm intrigued about the fourth day of Creation where the heavenly lights were made "for signs and seasons". Astrology comes to my mind, but as far as I know the Bible condemns Astrology. Genesis ...
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What textual clues are there that the original readers of Genesis would have understood 11:27–50:26 in a different way than Genesis 2:4–11:26?

One fairly common argument on how to interpret Genesis says that there is a change in theme (or perhaps even genre) near the end of Genesis 11, basically that things shift from the (pre-)history of ...
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Should Bible texts that are less clear be explained by texts that are more clear?

Is there any Biblical evidence to support the concept that Bible texts that are less clear should be explained by Bible texts that are more clear? It has been explained to me that if two texts ...
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How does the rule of non-contradiction differ between Greek logic and Biblical Hermeneutics?

The rule of non-contradiction is key to Greek logic. The Socratic method often walks through a binary tree of false dilemmas [1] until a conclusion is reached. In Hermeneutics contradiction seems to ...
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Bart D. Ehrman - respected critic? [closed]

I found Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why troublesome to my understanding of the translation process of the bible. It has made me review my understanding of the bible. ...
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600 views

Is dispensationalism a theological framework or a hermeneutical approach?

I most often hear about dispensationalism in the context of a theological framework wherein God’s relations with man are understood to be divided up into different periods of time, or dispensations, ...
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Hermeneutical Approaches vs. Inductive Bible Study

Inductive Bible Study teaches that you observe, interpret, and then apply scripture, and has lots of specific things you should observe such as word repetitions, structural elements such as ...
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What is meant in 1 Peter 3:21 when it says “baptism now saves you”

In 1 Pet 3:21 it says (NASB, emphasis added): Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you—not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the ...
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What are the criteria for identifying an allusion?

Two recent questions have me wondering whether there are good criteria for identifying an allusion in a biblical text. An allusion seems to be a deliberate reference to another text, albeit in a ...
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How does John 5:28-29 fit with the dispensational hermeneutic

The dispensational hermeneutic has been summarized as: “Consistently literal or plain interpretation is indicative of a dispensational approach to the interpretation of the Scriptures,” declared ...
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How can one detect when there is a “community” behind a text?

With an epistle like Galatians, it is rather transparent that there is some sort of community to whom the letter is written. But scholars (e.g. Raymond Brown) have also been known to talk about a ...
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Are there any rules on which things in Revelation must be interpreted literally and which symbolically?

Are there any rules on which things in Revelation must be interpreted literally and which symbolically? The one that comes from the back of my mind is that if a certain thing or a character is already ...
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Matt. 27:52 “tombs also were opened” apocalyptic symbolism?

Matt. 27:51b (NA28) ... καὶ ἡ γῆ ἐσείσθη καὶ αἱ πέτραι ἐσχίσθησαν,  52 καὶ τὰ μνημεῖα ἀνεῴχθησαν καὶ πολλὰ σώματα τῶν κεκοιμημένων ἁγίων ἠγέρθησαν,  53 καὶ ἐξελθόντες ἐκ τῶν μνημείων μετὰ τὴν ...
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Can the term “eisegesis” apply to the interpretation of Old Testament passages as prophecies specifically of Jesus?

Since the last Old Testament book was written hundreds of years before the first New Testament book, it actually makes little sense to claim that any of the OT writers had specifically Jesus in mind ...
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How to separate exegesis from eisegesis in this example?

There is a paper put on a table in a room with five doors, each taller than the one next to it. On the paper the text reads in an ancient Egyptian language: "Behind the tallest door you will find ...
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What is socio-rhetorical criticism?

I've heard David DeSilva and Ben Witherington III associated with the term "socio-rhetorical criticism" and Witherington even has a series of commentaries titled the "Socio-Rhetorical Commentary" ...
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What are the major variations of the “double-fulfillment” hermeneutic?

"Double-fulfillment" Some hermeneutics hold that Biblical prophecy should be understood in terms of a "double-fulfillment". For example, many understand the following prophecy in terms of a ...
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What is the difference between exegesis and hermeneutics?

What is the difference between exegesis and hermeneutics? Are they the same, is there overlap, or does one pick up where the other leaves off?
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1answer
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What are the seven middoth (Hillel's rules for interpretation)?

The "middoth" were Rabbi Hillel's rules for interpretation. There are seven of them. What are they? Please list them and include one or two clear examples for each.
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What are possible historical interpretations of John 1:1?

This question is inspired by a question about the proper translation of John 1:1.1 There are lengthy debates on how to translate the Johanine prologue properly.2 This is not about that debate. Based ...
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Does “days” in prophecy equal “years” (Daniel 9 - Seventy Weeks)

A lot of theologians take Daniel's seventy weeks and interpret the seventy weeks to be 490 years, a year for each day. From a hermeneutic standpoint, I seek to know if this type of calculation is ...
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What is a “hermeneutics of the letter”?

In 2009, Peter Leithart published Deep Exegesis: The Mystery of Reading Scripture (Baylor University Press) - a book that in part aims to advocate a "hermeneutics of the letter." First, this book ...
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Were verses 15-18 a later addition to Genesis 22?

I recently learned that many scholars think that verses 15-18 of Genesis 22 were a later addition to the text. These verses comprise the second angelic monologue after his initial instruction to spare ...
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What is “Midrash” and how does it relate to Christian principles of hermeneutics?

What is the Midrash method of interpreting a Biblical verse and what application does it have in Christian studies as a hermeneutic principle?
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What role does the Holy Spirit play in hermeneutics?

Christians believe that they have an indwelling of the Holy Spirit who acts as a counselor and guide, enabling them to rightly understand God's word. How does the role of the Holy Spirit in ...
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359 views

Can we use “linguistic fingerprints” to identify different authors of the Bible?

I read, what was to me, quite an interesting blog post about different authors' contributing to different parts of the bible measured by analysing "linguistic fingerprints": For millions of Jews ...
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930 views

How can we determine if a text is sarcastic?

What hermeneutical principles help in understanding whether a particular passage is to be understood as sarcastic? For instance, Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! ...
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Interpretation of Genesis 1:26?

I am under the impression that the Trinity is a Christian idea, and that the Jews did not view God as "three in one and one in three". How, then, was the following passage interpreted by the people ...
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How do Jewish scholars differ from Christian scholars in their approach to the Tanakh?

What are the characteristic differences between how Jewish scholarship approaches the text of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and that of Christian scholars? If their approach was the same I assume they ...
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Is it possible to be unbiased when interpreting Scripture?

Hermeneutics is not only concerned with the science of interpretation, but also with the philosophy of interpretation. One of the major questions under examination in modern discussions about ...
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What does μονογενὴς Θεὸς means in John 1:18?

I know that μονογενὴς Θεὸς is the correct text in John 1:18b but my question is that what does it mean in Christian Theology? How do we suppose to understand such divine title of God's Son? The NASB ...
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What is “verbal plenary inspiration” and to what texts does it apply?

What is the "verbal plenary" view of the inspiration of Scripture and to what texts is it considered to apply? What hermeneutical approaches hold this view and how does it affect the way they ...
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Are the judgement's in Joel 3:2, Matthew 25:31-32, and Revelation 20:12 referring to the same event?

Joel 3:2 (ASV) 2 I will gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat; and I will execute judgment upon them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom ...
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What are the differences between allegorical and typological interpretation?

In a recent discussion on a question about allegory, it was pointed out that allegory and typology are not the same thing. What are the differences between the two approaches? Is one a subset of the ...
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Question regarding John 12:32 [duplicate]

In John 12:32 (ESV) Jesus says, And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people (πάντας, pantas) to myself. I made the following statement to someone who is seeking to qualify ...
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The number 40's “real meaning” [closed]

The number 40 appears in several biblical stories. Such as, 40 days and 40 nights of Noah's flood story, Jesus walked on the earth for 40 days, etc. I read on Wikipedia that 40 is use as an ...
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Speculative realism as a means of understanding the phenomenon of reading

N.T. Wright has called for "a critical-realist account of the phenomenon of reading" and has proposed (a limited form of) such an approach when discussing how the New Testament should be read.1 The ...
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What does it mean that “Scripture interprets Scripture”?

What does the rule that "Scripture interprets Scripture" mean and where does it fit into a larger picture of the field of hermeneutics? What hermeneutical approaches use this as a guiding principle?
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Does Jesus address hermeneutical assumptions?

Mt 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Mr 13:31 Heaven and earth shall pass away: ...
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What is the significance of locations in hermeneutics? Amos 5:4-6 as case passage

How far and how literally do named locations inform us of the recipients of a proclamation or prophecy? There are many passages where the recipient is known already, both contextually in the book and ...
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Is Ecclesiastes a book of negative wisdom?

When I was younger, I thought that because Ecclesiastes was so dour, it was a sort of negative wisdom—something like, "This is how crazy you get when you don't follow God." However, this ...
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What is the literal meaning of “royal priesthood” in 1 Peter 2:9?

"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation..." - 1 Peter 2:9 (NIV) I've understood the phrase "royal priesthood" to mean something along the lines of "priesthood that serves ...
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What does 'reign with him' in 2 Tim 2:12 mean?

2 Timothy 2:11-13 (RSVCE) has: The saying is sure: If we have died with him, we shall also live with him; if we endure, we shall also reign with him; if we deny him, he also will ...
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What is an “early catholicism”?

My basic understanding of "early catholicism" is that it is a paradigm for understanding the development of parts of the New Testament, with some parts coming later as early expectations were unmet ...
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What is the difference between a “literal” and “literalistic” interpretation of Scripture?

I've seen a number of people try to distinguish their "literal" interpretation from a "literalistic" interpretation of Scripture (e.g. Vanhoozer in "Is There a Meaning in this Text?"). What is the ...
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Where did Abel get the idea to sacrifice sheep?

The purpose of this question is to examine whether it is possible to know where Abel's understanding of sacrifice came from based on the text we have. The presupposition is that Abel had access to the ...
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What was the lesson Elisha wanted to teach Joash using the arrows?

In 2 Kings 13:14-17 we find that, Joash - the king of Israel, took a bow and some arrows as Elisha told him. And the 17th verse: Elisha said, “Open the east window,” and he did so. Elisha said, ...
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What is hermeneutics?

Seeing as this is a site about hermeneutics, it would seem a good place to have an answer to the above question. What exactly is hermeneutics?
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What is the difference between St Thomas Aquinas and Abbot Suger's interpretation of the term “anagogic”?

I know in de Administratione Suger writes that a lavish church inspires its worshippers to recognize god and perhaps sees anagogic meaning as the more lavish the church=the more uplifting the ...