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 the "philosophy ⇆ text" feedback system works—an issue with far to great a scope for a single BH.SE question.

Is it defensible to claim in general that our existing beliefs are more a powerful shaping force in interpretation than the contents of the text? This is doubtless true at times. But is it defensible to claim this in general rather than of specific interpretations?

  • My understanding of hermeneutics is that it is so regimented and disciplined for the purpose of reducing as much bias as possible from the discipline of interpretation.
    – swasheck
    May 24, 2012 at 22:32
  • @swasheck That looks like good answer material.
    – Kazark
    May 24, 2012 at 22:33
  • Logic is a tool used to convince oneself and others that the capricious choice taken was an act of reason. Hermeneutics is a close cousin. If He doesn't open the eyes, no amount of Hermeneutic discipline will: Lu 24:32 And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? Lu 24:45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,
    – Bob Jones
    May 28, 2012 at 1:36

1 Answer 1


The answer here demonstrates how the presuppositions going in to the verse generally guide the answer more than the scriptures themselves. Controversial verses are controversial because people do not agree on the meaning. They do not agree either because of presuppositions or hermeneutics. But since hermeneutics are themselves presuppositions of how the text should be interpreted, it can be said that presuppositions are king.

Even the third method demonstrated has the presupposition that sensus plenior methods should be used.

A good interpretation is more likely if the presuppositions are true.

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