The theories and methods of studying a text.

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3answers
497 views

Is hermeneutics primarily descriptive or prescriptive?

I sometimes hear (particularly on this site) of hermeneutical "methods", such as the grammatico-historal approach, or literal-historical approach, or sensus plenior. These all seem to be tools or ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

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 ...
30
votes
7answers
1k views

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 ...
15
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6answers
1k views

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 ...
16
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6answers
11k views

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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2answers
2k views

What is the difference between historical-grammatical and historical criticism?

The historical-grammatical method and historical criticism are both hermeneutical approaches seeking to uncover the original meaning of the text. What is the difference between the two?
9
votes
3answers
3k views

What is the “fourfold sense of Scripture”?

During the Patristic Period in the Middle Ages practiced an exegetical tactic known as the fourfold sense of Scripture. What are these four senses and do these ideas about the nature of Scripture ...
6
votes
1answer
137 views

Has Pesharim left any mark on modern hermeneutics?

I understand that the Qumran monastic community—those primarily responsible for having collected and preserved the Dead Sea Scrolls and other works—endorsed the Pesharim approach to scriptural ...
10
votes
1answer
2k views

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.
10
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1answer
375 views

What is the “Grammatical Historical Approach” to hermeneutics?

BH seems to be divided into several different approaches. What is the Grammatical Historical Approach and what are the primary ways that it differs from other modern approaches?
12
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1answer
317 views

When is allegorization of scripture productive?

If I were to run into the story of the three little pigs accidentally used as a bookmark in my Bible I might draw these conclusions: Clearly the wolf is the Devil trying to devour sinners who are ...
11
votes
4answers
363 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, ...
16
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2answers
560 views

Bart D. Ehrman - respected critic?

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. ...
11
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4answers
609 views

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 ...
11
votes
2answers
314 views

What is the “systematic typology” hermeneutic method and how does it work?

There's a hermeneutic method that's been used on this site called "systematic typology". What is it? How does one apply it? Are there contexts where it is considered to be a particularly good or ...
3
votes
1answer
389 views

How many common hermeneutical approaches are there and how do they differ?

How many distinctly different common hermeneutical approaches are there, and what are the major distinctives of each approach? I'm not asking for a long description of each - just a concise summary ...
2
votes
1answer
180 views

How does “Sensus Plenior” differ from Allegory, Gnosticism, Kaballah, and Midrash?

People are divided on hermeneutic approaches. This is probably more true with the introduction of Sensus Plenior to the discussion. It would be helpful to have an explanation of it and how it differs ...
15
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2answers
1k views

What is Sensus Plenior and how does it impact the field of hermeneutics?

What is the Sensus Plenior view of Scripture? Without trying to resolve it's ultimate validity or not, what significant implications does the idea hold for Biblical hermeneutics in theory and ...
11
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3answers
307 views

Where does the “slippery slope” of allegorical interpretations start?

Besides the Grammatical Historical Approach to hermeneutics, various allegorical or metaphorical approaches exist. It seems to me that if you approach a text with the assumption that the whole thing ...
6
votes
2answers
207 views

What are the strict set of rules followed by sensus plenior?

I realize there are similar questions posted but not seeking an exact explanation where it can be shown rationally that three or more independent people, not talking to each other, can come out with ...
10
votes
2answers
594 views

What is a Horizon of Understanding and how can it be applied to understanding the Bible?

Hans-Georg Gadamer uses Horizons of Understanding as a model for communication, and the concept of fusion of horizons is sometimes put forth as a way of explaining how one can approach a "text", but ...
9
votes
3answers
255 views

How is genre determined?

If you take a hermeneutics course at your local Bible College or Seminary, or pick up a (modern) book on Biblical hermeneutics, it is likely that the topic of genre would take center stage in the ...
8
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5answers
1k views

What does Paul mean by allegory in Galatians 4:24?

Paul's method of interpretation in Galatians 4:21-31 seems a bit unusual as compared to most modern methods. He says these things may be "interpreted allegorically." What is his method of exegesis? ...
7
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6answers
457 views

What are the limits to the Christological hermeneutic?

According to Wikipedia: The Christo-Centric Principle: "The mind of deity is eternally centered in Christ. All angelic thought and ministry are centered in Christ. All Satanic hatred and ...
5
votes
0answers
700 views

Accuracy of Alfred Edersheim's “Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah” [closed]

Edersheim's book The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah has been called "one of the best known and most important references on the life of Christ ever written." However, a lot has changed in the ...
4
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2answers
959 views

What is “the hermeneutical circle”?

This question mentions "the hermeneutical circle": I sometimes hear ... of hermeneutical "methods", such as the grammatico-historal approach, or literal-historical approach, or sensus plenior. ... ...
3
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4answers
606 views

Which hermeneutical approaches support a literal interpretation of the Creation account?

I had always been told that a day meant 24 hours, but a systematic theology textbook I read disputed that pretty well. (Please do not address this item in particular. This isn't the question I'm ...
13
votes
3answers
5k views

How different is Biblical Hebrew from modern Hebrew?

It's been variously suggested on this site that the difference between Biblical Hebrew and modern Hebrew is like either the difference between: Old English and modern English Shakespeare's English ...
13
votes
2answers
668 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! ...
13
votes
3answers
3k views

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?
9
votes
1answer
352 views

Pros and Cons of Barth's Commentary on Romans

What are the merits/problems with Karl Barth's commentary on Romans? How much does he treat the details of the Greek? What is his overall hermeneutic of the book? (Please steer away from explaining ...
9
votes
5answers
867 views

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 ...
9
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1answer
330 views

How does Canon Criticism relate to the concept of a Gesamtbiblische Theologie?

It is my understanding that Brevard Childs's so-called canonical (or canon) criticism places an emphasis on looking at the Bible as a complete work. This reminds me of the concept of a Gesamtbiblische ...
8
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2answers
521 views

What is “Regula Fidei”?

What is "Regula Fidei" and is this principle of interpretation considered obsolete by those who practice the Grammatical Historical approach to hermeneutics or does it survive in some form?
7
votes
4answers
368 views

How can we determine when an image is a symbol?

Put simply, a symbol is a tangible representation of an intangible idea. Authors, both ancient and modern, use symbolic images to convey abstract concepts. The problem with symbols, however, is that ...
7
votes
6answers
551 views

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 ...
5
votes
1answer
4k views

What is an anagogical interpretation and when should it be considered?

First of all, what exactly is an anagogical interpretation? What is a good example of a text that can be understood to be anagoge? Secondly, what textual clues should one look for when considering ...
4
votes
1answer
222 views

What is Luke's purpose for recording this narrative and ultimately Jesus' reason to express this account of the rich man and Lazarus to those present?

There are people who understand this text to express Jesus warning the hearers of the potential torment of the lost directly following their death. 1. Explain why that is, or isn't the intended ...
4
votes
4answers
170 views

Is synoptic parallelism a valid hermeneutic?

I'll give an example: Matt. 4:17 (KJV) From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Mark 1:15 (KJV) And saying, The time is fulfilled, and ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

What are higher and lower criticism?

What is historical criticism (also known as higher criticism)? What is textual criticism (also known as lower criticism)? How can they help us understand the scriptures? How can they interefere with ...
3
votes
1answer
578 views

How many “layers” are there to the Scriptures?

In my quest to understand hermeneutics, I am at the stage of reviewing the different "layers of meaning" to the Scriptures. So far I have identified two layers; a "literal" meaning and a "divine" ...
2
votes
4answers
1k views

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 ...
1
vote
1answer
68 views

Existing beliefs or contents of the text more formative in hermeneutics?

This answer states: In general: philosophy informs one's reading of a text, not the other way around. This statement in itself is an answer to one of the biggest issues of hermeneutics: the way ...
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vote
2answers
642 views

Do any Hermeneutical approaches have a specific meaning for the number 11?

I have read that in biblical numerology the number 11 indicates a system or period given to chaos or disorganization, and a survey of the text seems to bear this out. See, for example: Meaning of ...
0
votes
1answer
115 views

Using literal hermeneutics how does one determine if a demand is made on the reader?

This is an attempt at rescoping this. Given that an interpretive framework, whether it be a set of rules or a theological predisposition, guides the interpretation of scripture, what are the rules or ...