Biblical hermeneutics

Biblical hermeneutics

Overview
Biblical hermeneutics is the study of the principles of interpretation concerning the books of the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

. It is part of the broader field of hermeneutics which involves the study of principles for the text and includes all forms of communication: verbal and nonverbal.

While Jewish
Talmudical Hermeneutics
Talmudical Hermeneutics is the science which defines the rules and methods for the investigation and exact determination of the meaning of the Scriptures, both legal and historical...

 and Christian
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 Biblical hermeneutics have some overlap
Judeo-Christian
Judeo-Christian is a term used in the United States since the 1940s to refer to standards of ethics said to be held in common by Judaism and Christianity, for example the Ten Commandments...

 and dialogue
Interfaith
The term interfaith dialogue refers to cooperative, constructive and positive interaction between people of different religious traditions and/or spiritual or humanistic beliefs, at both the individual and institutional levels...

, they have distinctly separate interpretative traditions, see also Christianity and Judaism.


The article on Jewish commentaries on the Bible
Jewish commentaries on the Bible
This article describes the first printing of the Hebrew Bible with major Jewish commentaries, notes concerning translations into Aramaic and English, lists some universally accepted Jewish commentaries with notes on their method of approach and lists modern translations into English with notes.-...

 discusses hermeneutics on the Bible from a Jewish
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 point of view.
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Encyclopedia
Biblical hermeneutics is the study of the principles of interpretation concerning the books of the Bible
Bible
The Bible refers to any one of the collections of the primary religious texts of Judaism and Christianity. There is no common version of the Bible, as the individual books , their contents and their order vary among denominations...

. It is part of the broader field of hermeneutics which involves the study of principles for the text and includes all forms of communication: verbal and nonverbal.

While Jewish
Talmudical Hermeneutics
Talmudical Hermeneutics is the science which defines the rules and methods for the investigation and exact determination of the meaning of the Scriptures, both legal and historical...

 and Christian
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 Biblical hermeneutics have some overlap
Judeo-Christian
Judeo-Christian is a term used in the United States since the 1940s to refer to standards of ethics said to be held in common by Judaism and Christianity, for example the Ten Commandments...

 and dialogue
Interfaith
The term interfaith dialogue refers to cooperative, constructive and positive interaction between people of different religious traditions and/or spiritual or humanistic beliefs, at both the individual and institutional levels...

, they have distinctly separate interpretative traditions, see also Christianity and Judaism.

Tanakh commentaries



The article on Jewish commentaries on the Bible
Jewish commentaries on the Bible
This article describes the first printing of the Hebrew Bible with major Jewish commentaries, notes concerning translations into Aramaic and English, lists some universally accepted Jewish commentaries with notes on their method of approach and lists modern translations into English with notes.-...

 discusses hermeneutics on the Bible from a Jewish
Judaism
Judaism ) is the "religion, philosophy, and way of life" of the Jewish people...

 point of view. This article discusses Jewish bible commentaries from the ancient Targums to classical Rabbinic literature
Rabbinic literature
Rabbinic literature, in its broadest sense, can mean the entire spectrum of rabbinic writings throughout Jewish history. However, the term often refers specifically to literature from the Talmudic era, as opposed to medieval and modern rabbinic writing, and thus corresponds with the Hebrew term...

, the midrash
Midrash
The Hebrew term Midrash is a homiletic method of biblical exegesis. The term also refers to the whole compilation of homiletic teachings on the Bible....

 literature, the classical medieval commentators, and modern day commentaries.

Talmudical Hermeneutics


Talmudical Hermeneutics (Hebrew: approximately, מידות שהתורה נדרשת בהן) refers to Jewish methods for the investigation and determination of the meaning of the Hebrew Bible
Tanakh
The Tanakh is a name used in Judaism for the canon of the Hebrew Bible. The Tanakh is also known as the Masoretic Text or the Miqra. The name is an acronym formed from the initial Hebrew letters of the Masoretic Text's three traditional subdivisions: The Torah , Nevi'im and Ketuvim —hence...

, as well as rules by which Jewish law could be established. One well-known summary of these principles appears in the Baraita of Rabbi Ishmael
Baraita of Rabbi Ishmael
The Baraita of Rabbi Ishmael is a baraita which explains the 13 rules of R. Ishmael, and their application, by means of illustrations from the Bible. The name is inaccurately given also to the first part of the Baraita, which only enumerates the thirteen rules...

.

The methods by which the Talmud explores the meaning of scripture include
  • grammar
    Grammar
    In linguistics, grammar is the set of structural rules that govern the composition of clauses, phrases, and words in any given natural language. The term refers also to the study of such rules, and this field includes morphology, syntax, and phonology, often complemented by phonetics, semantics,...

     and exegesis
    Exegesis
    Exegesis is a critical explanation or interpretation of a text, especially a religious text. Traditionally the term was used primarily for exegesis of the Bible; however, in contemporary usage it has broadened to mean a critical explanation of any text, and the term "Biblical exegesis" is used...

  • the interpretation of certain words and letters and apparently superfluous and/or missing words or letters, and prefixes and suffixes
  • the interpretation of those letters which, in certain words, are provided with points
  • the interpretation of the letters in a word according to their numerical value (see Gemaṭria
    Gematria
    Gematria or gimatria is a system of assigning numerical value to a word or phrase, in the belief that words or phrases with identical numerical values bear some relation to each other, or bear some relation to the number itself as it may apply to a person's age, the calendar year, or the like...

    )
  • the interpretation of a word by dividing it into two or more words (see Noṭariḳon
    Notarikon
    Notarikon is a method of deriving a word, akin to the creation of an acronym, by using each of its initial or final letters to stand for another word, forming a sentence or idea out of the words. Another variation entails using the first and last letters, or the two middle letters of a word,...

    )
  • the interpretation of a word according to its consonantal form or according to its vocalization
  • the interpretation of a word by transposing its letters or by changing its vowels
  • the logical deduction of a halakah from a Scriptural text or from another law


The rabbis of the Talmud considered themselves to be the receivers and transmitters of an oral law as to the meaning of the scriptures. They considered this oral tradition
Oral tradition
Oral tradition and oral lore is cultural material and traditions transmitted orally from one generation to another. The messages or testimony are verbally transmitted in speech or song and may take the form, for example, of folktales, sayings, ballads, songs, or chants...

 to set forth the precise, original meanings of the words, revealed at the same time and by the same means as the original scriptures themselves. Interpretive methods listed above such as word play and letter counting were never used as logical proof of the meaning or teaching of a scripture. Instead they were considered to be an asmakhta, a validation of a meaning that was already set by tradition or a homiletic backing for rabbinic rulings.

Christian biblical hermeneutics


Until the Enlightenment, Biblical hermeneutics was usually seen as a form of special hermeneutics (like legal hermeneutics); the status of scripture was thought to necessitate a particular form of understanding and interpretation.

In the nineteenth century it became increasingly common to read Scripture just like any other writing
Writing
Writing is the representation of language in a textual medium through the use of a set of signs or symbols . It is distinguished from illustration, such as cave drawing and painting, and non-symbolic preservation of language via non-textual media, such as magnetic tape audio.Writing most likely...

, although the different interpretations were often disputed. Friedrich Schleiermacher argued against a distinction between "general" and "special" hermeneutics, and for a general theory of hermeneutics applicable to all texts
Text (literary theory)
A text, within literary theory, is a coherent set of symbols that transmits some kind of informative message. This set of symbols is considered in terms of the informative message's content, rather than in terms of its physical form or the medium in which it is represented...

, including the Bible. Various methods of higher criticism sought to understand the Bible purely as a human, historical document.

The concept of hermeneutics has acquired at least two different but related meanings which are in use today. Firstly, in the older sense, Biblical hermeneutics may be understood as the theological principles of exegesis which is often virtually synonymous with 'principles of biblical interpretation' or methodology of Biblical exegesis. Secondly, the more recent development is to understand the term 'Biblical hermeneutics' as the broader philosophy and linguistic underpinnings of interpretation. The question is posed: "How is understanding possible?" The rationale of this approach is that, while Scripture is "more than just an ordinary text," it is in the first analysis "text" which human beings try to understand; in this sense, the principles of understanding any text apply to the Bible as well (regardless of whatever other additional, specifically theological principles are considered).

In this second sense, all aspects of philosophical and linguistic hermeneutics are considered to be applicable to the Biblical texts, as well. There are obvious examples of this in the links between 20th century philosophy and Christian theology
Theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

. For example, Rudolf Bultmann
Rudolf Bultmann
Rudolf Karl Bultmann was a German theologian of Lutheran background, who was for three decades professor of New Testament studies at the University of Marburg...

's hermeneutical approach was strongly influenced by existentialism
Existentialism
Existentialism is a term applied to a school of 19th- and 20th-century philosophers who, despite profound doctrinal differences, shared the belief that philosophical thinking begins with the human subject—not merely the thinking subject, but the acting, feeling, living human individual...

, and in particular by the philosophy of Martin Heidegger
Martin Heidegger
Martin Heidegger was a German philosopher known for his existential and phenomenological explorations of the "question of Being."...

; and since the 1970s, the philosophical hermeneutics of Hans-Georg Gadamer
Hans-Georg Gadamer
Hans-Georg Gadamer was a German philosopher of the continental tradition, best known for his 1960 magnum opus, Truth and Method .-Life:...

 have had a wide-ranging influence on Biblical hermeneutics as developed by a wide range of Christian theologians. The French-American philosopher Rene Girard
René Girard
René Girard is a French historian, literary critic, and philosopher of social science. His work belongs to the tradition of anthropological philosophy...

 follows a similar trail.

Theological hermeneutics as traditional Christian Biblical exegesis


This form of theological hermeneutics in the mainstream Protestant tradition considers Christian Biblical hermeneutics in the tradition of explication of the text, or exegesis
Exegesis
Exegesis is a critical explanation or interpretation of a text, especially a religious text. Traditionally the term was used primarily for exegesis of the Bible; however, in contemporary usage it has broadened to mean a critical explanation of any text, and the term "Biblical exegesis" is used...

, to deal with various principles that can be applied to the study of Scripture. If the canon
Biblical canon
A biblical canon, or canon of scripture, is a list of books considered to be authoritative as scripture by a particular religious community. The term itself was first coined by Christians, but the idea is found in Jewish sources. The internal wording of the text can also be specified, for example...

 of Scripture is considered as an organic whole, rather than an accumulation of disparate individual texts written and edited in the course of history, then any interpretation that contradicts any other part of scripture is not considered to be sound. Biblical hermeneutics differs from hermeneutics and within traditional Protestant theology
Theology
Theology is the systematic and rational study of religion and its influences and of the nature of religious truths, or the learned profession acquired by completing specialized training in religious studies, usually at a university or school of divinity or seminary.-Definition:Augustine of Hippo...

, there are a variety of interpretive formulae. Such formulae are generally not mutually exclusive, and interpreters may adhere to several of these approaches at once. These formulae include:

Theological Group of Principles:
  • The Election Principle
  • The Historical-grammatical
    Historical-grammatical method
    The historical-grammatical method is a Christian hermeneutical method that strives to discover the Biblical author's original intended meaning in the text. It is the primary method of interpretation for many conservative Protestant exegetes who reject the so-called historical-critical method used...

    principle based on historical, socio-political, geographical, cultural and linguistic / grammatical context
  • The Dispensation Principle
    Dispensationalism
    Dispensationalism is a nineteenth-century evangelical development based on a futurist biblical hermeneutic that sees a series of chronologically successive "dispensations" or periods in history in which God relates to human beings in different ways under different Biblical covenants.As a system,...

    or The Chronometrical Principle: "During different periods of time, God has chosen to deal in a particular way with man in respect to sin and man's responsibility."
  • The Covenantal Principle: "We differentiate between the various contracts that God has made with his people; specifically their provisions, their parties and their purposes."
  • The Ethnic Division Principle: "The word of truth is rightly divided in relation to the three classes which it treats, i.e. Jews, Gentiles and the Church."
  • The Breach Principle: Interpretation of a certain verse or passage in Scripture is aided by a consideration of certain breaches, either breaches of promise or breaches of time.
  • 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 subtlety are centered at Christ. All human hopes are, and human occupations should be, centered in Christ. The whole material universe in creation is centered in Christ. The entire written word is centered in Christ."
  • The Moral Principle
  • The Discriminational Principle: "We should divide the word of truth so as to make a distinction where God makes a difference."
  • The Predictive Principle
  • The Application Principle: "An application of truth may be made only after the correct interpretation has been made"
  • The Principle of Human Willingness in Illumination
  • The Context Principle: "God gives light upon a subject through either near or remote passages bearing upon the same subject."


Sub-divided Context/Mention Principles:
  • The First Mention Principle: "God indicates in the first mention of a subject the truth with which that subject stands connected in the mind of God."
  • The Progressive Mention Principle: "God makes the revelation of any given truth increasingly clear as the word proceeds to its consummation."
  • The Comparative Mention Principle
  • The Full Mention Principle or The Complete Mention Principle: "God declares his full mind upon any subject vital to our spiritual life."
  • The Agreement Principle: "The truthfulness and faithfulness of God become the guarantee that he will not set forth any passage in his word that contradicts any other passage."
  • The Direct Statement Principle: "God says what he means and means what he says."
  • The Gap Principle:"God, in the Jewish Scriptures, ignores certain periods of time, leaping over them without comment."
  • The Threefold Principle:"The word of God sets forth the truths of salvation in a three-fold way: past - justification; present - sanctification/transformation; future - glorification/consummation."
  • The Repetition Principle:"God repeats some truth or subject already given, generally with the addition of details not before given."
  • The Synthetic Principle
  • The Principle of Illustrative Mention
  • The Double Reference Principle


Figures of Speech Group of Principles:
  • The Numerical Principle
  • The Symbolic Principle
  • The Typical Principle: "Certain people, events, objects and rituals found in the Old Testament may serve as object lessons and pictures by which God teaches us of his grace and saving power."
  • The Parabolic Principle
  • The Allegorical Principle

Techniques of hermeneutics


In the interpretation of a text, hermeneutics considers the original medium as well as what language says, supposes, doesn't say, and implies. The process consists of several steps for best attaining the Scriptural author's intended meaning(s). One such process is taught by Henry A Virkler, in Hermeneutics: Principles and Processes of Biblical Interpretation (1981):
  1. Lexical-syntactical analysis: This step looks at the words used and the way the words are used. Different order of the sentence, the punctuation, the tense of the verse are all aspects that are looked at in the lexical syntactical method. Here, lexicons and grammar aids can help in extracting meaning from the text.
  2. Historical/cultural analysis: The history and culture surrounding the authors is important to understand to aid in interpretation. For instance, understanding the Jewish sects of the Palestine and the government that ruled Palestine in New Testament times increases understanding of Scripture. And, understanding the connotations of positions such as the High Priest and that of the tax collector helps us know what others thought of the people holding these positions.
  3. Contextual analysis: A verse out of context can often be taken to mean something completely different from the intention. This method focuses on the importance of looking at the context of a verse in its chapter, book and even biblical context.
  4. Theological analysis: It is often said that a single verse usually doesn't make a theology. This is because Scripture often touches on issues in several books. For instance, gifts of the Spirit are spoken about in Romans, Ephesians and 1 Corinthians. To take a verse from Corinthians without taking into account other passages that deal with the same topic can cause a poor interpretation.
  5. Special literary analysis: There are several special literary aspects to look at, but the overarching theme is that each genre of Scripture has a different set of rules that applies to it. Of the genres found in Scripture, there are: narratives, histories, prophecies, apocalyptic writings, poetry, psalms and letters. In these, there are differing levels of allegory, figurative language, metaphors, similes and literal language. For instance, the apocalyptic writings and poetry have more figurative and allegorical language than does the narrative or historical writing. These must be addressed, and the genre recognized to gain a full understanding of the intended meaning.


Howard Hendricks, longtime professor of hermeneutics at Dallas Theological Seminary, set out the method of observing the text, interpreting the text, applying the text in his book, Living By the Book. Other major Christian teachers, such as Chuck Swindoll, who wrote the foreword, Kay Arthur and David Jeremiah have based their hermeneutics on the principles Howard teaches.

David L. Barr states there are three obstacles that stand in the way of correctly interpreting the biblical writings: We speak a different language, we live approximately two millennia later, and we bring different expectations to the text . Additionally, Barr suggests that we approach the reading of the Bible with significantly different literary expectations than those in reading other forms of literature and writing.

Roman Catholic principles of hermeneutics


The Catholic Encyclopedia lists a number of principles guiding Roman Catholic hermeneutics in the article on Exegesis (note: the Catholic Encyclopedia was written in 1917 and does not reflect the changes set forth by the encyclical Divino Afflante Spiritu
Divino Afflante Spiritu
Divino Afflante Spiritu is an encyclical letter issued by Pope Pius XII on September 30, 1943. It inaugurated the modern period of Roman Catholic Bible studies by permitting the limited use of modern methods of biblical criticism. The Catholic bible scholar Raymond E...

published by Pius XII in 1943, which opened modern Catholic Biblical scholarship) :
  • Historico-grammatical interpretation - The meaning of the literary expression of the Bible is best learned by a thorough knowledge of the languages in which the original text of Scripture was written, and by acquaintance with the Scriptural way of speaking, including the various customs, laws, habits and national prejudices which influenced the inspired writers as they composed their respective books. John Paul II said that: "A second conclusion is that the very nature of biblical texts means that interpreting them will require continued use of the historical-critical method, at least in its principal procedures. The Bible, in effect, does not present itself as a direct revelation of timeless truths but as the written testimony to a series of interventions in which God reveals himself in human history. In a way that differs from tenets of other religions [such as Islam, for instance], the message of the Bible is solidly grounded in history.
  • Catholic interpretation - Because the Catholic Church is, according to Catholics, the official custodian and interpreter of the Bible, Catholicism's teaching concerning the Sacred Scriptures and their genuine sense must be the supreme guide of the commentator. The Catholic commentator is bound to adhere to the interpretation of texts which the Church has defined either expressly or implicitly. Since the same God is the author both of the Sacred Books and of the doctrine committed to the Church, it is impossible that any legitimate teaching can be at variance with the latter.
  • Reverence - Since the Bible is God's own book, its study must be begun and prosecuted with a spirit of reverence and prayer.
  • Inerrancy - Since God is the principal Author of Sacred Scripture, it can be claimed to contain no error, no self-contradiction, nothing contrary to scientific or historical truth (when the original authors intended historical or scientific truth to be portrayed). Minor contradictions are due to copyist errors in the codex or the translation. Catholics believe the Scripture is God's message put in words by men, with the imperfections this very fact necessarily implies. That's why it becomes self-contradictory to hold biblical interpretation to be 'historico-grammatical' and treat the Bible's own words — which aren't but human — as error-free. Catholic hermeneutics strongly supports inerrancy when it comes to principles but not, for example, when dealing with Evangelists' orthographic mistakes. According to Pope John Paul II, "Addressing men and women, from the beginnings of the Old Testament onward, God made use of all the possibilities of human language, while at the same time accepting that his word be subject to the constraints caused by the limitations of this language. Proper respect for inspired Scripture requires undertaking all the labors necessary to gain a thorough grasp of its meaning.
  • Patristics - The Holy Fathers are of supreme authority whenever they all interpret in one and the same manner any text of the Bible, as pertaining to the doctrine of faith or morals; for their unanimity clearly evinces that such interpretation has come down from the Apostles as a matter of Catholic faith.

Pope Benedict XVI has indicated in Verbum Domini, the post-synodal apostolic exhortation on the Word of God, that "Christianity...perceives in the words the Word himself, the Logos who displays his mystery through this complexity and the reality of human history". He encourages a “faith-filled interpretation of Sacred Scripture”. He emphasizes that this manner of interpretation, “practiced from antiquity within the Church’s Tradition...recognizes the historical value of the biblical tradition". It "seeks to discover the living meaning of the Sacred Scriptures for the lives of believers today while not ignoring the human mediation of the inspired text and its literary genres". Verbum Domini #44.

Trajectory hermeneutics


Trajectory hermeneutics or redemptive-movement hermeneutics (RMH) is a hermeneutical approach that seeks to locate varying 'voices' in the text and to view this voice as a progressive trajectory through history (or at least through the Biblical witness); often a trajectory that progresses through to the present day. The contemporary reader of Scripture is in some way envisaged by the Biblical text as standing in continuity with a developing theme therein. The reader, then, is left to discern this trajectory and appropriate it accordingly.

William J. Webb
William J. Webb
William J. Webb is a theologian, ordained Baptist minister and former professor of New Testament at Heritage Seminary, Ontario. He is notable for developing the "redemptive-movement" hermeneutic in his book Slaves, Women & Homosexuals: Exploring the Hermeneutics of Cultural Analysis...

 employed such a hermeneutic, in his Slaves, Women & Homosexuals. Webb shows how the moral commands of the Old and New Testament were a significant improvement over the surrounding cultural values and practices. Webb identified 18 different ways in how God dealt with his people moving against the current of popular cultural values. While for Webb the use of this hermeneutic moves to highlight the progressive liberation of women and slaves from oppressive male/bourgeois dominance, the prohibition of homosexual acts consistently moves in a more conservative manner than that of the surrounding Ancient Near East
Ancient Near East
The ancient Near East was the home of early civilizations within a region roughly corresponding to the modern Middle East: Mesopotamia , ancient Egypt, ancient Iran The ancient Near East was the home of early civilizations within a region roughly corresponding to the modern Middle East: Mesopotamia...

 or Graeco-Roman societies. While Paul does not explicitly state that slavery
Slavery
Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation...

 should be abolished, the trajectory seen in Scripture is a progressive liberation of slaves. When this is extended to modern times, it implies that the Biblical witness supports the abolition of slavery
Abolitionism
Abolitionism is a movement to end slavery.In western Europe and the Americas abolitionism was a movement to end the slave trade and set slaves free. At the behest of Dominican priest Bartolomé de las Casas who was shocked at the treatment of natives in the New World, Spain enacted the first...

. The progressive liberation of women from oppressive patriarchalism, traced from Genesis and Exodus through to Paul's own acknowledgement of women as 'co-workers' , sets a precedent that when applied to modern times suggests that women ought to have the same rights and roles afforded as men. Historically, the Biblical witness has become progressively more stringent in its views of homosexual practice and the implications of this are not commented upon by Webb.

See also

  • Allegorical interpretation
    Allegorical interpretation
    In a biblical context, allegorical interpretation is an approach assuming that the authors of a text intended something other than what is literally expressed....

  • Apologetics
    Apologetics
    Apologetics is the discipline of defending a position through the systematic use of reason. Early Christian writers Apologetics (from Greek ἀπολογία, "speaking in defense") is the discipline of defending a position (often religious) through the systematic use of reason. Early Christian writers...

  • Biblical accommodation
    Biblical Accommodation
    Biblical Accommodation is the adaptation of words or sentences from the Bible to signify ideas different from those expressed therin. Thus, if a sinner excuses his fault by saying, "The serpent deceived me", he applies the scriptural words of Eve to express an idea which the sentence does not...

  • Biblical law in Christianity
    Biblical law in Christianity
    Christian views of the Old Covenant have been central to Christian theology and practice since the circumcision controversy in Early Christianity. There are differing views about the applicability of the Old Covenant among Christian denominations...

  • Biblical literalism
    Biblical literalism
    Biblical literalism is the interpretation or translation of the explicit and primary sense of words in the Bible. A literal Biblical interpretation is associated with the fundamentalist and evangelical hermeneutical approach to Scripture, and is used almost exclusively by conservative Christians...

  • Biblical studies
    Biblical studies
    Biblical studies is the academic study of the Judeo-Christian Bible and related texts. For Christianity, the Bible traditionally comprises the New Testament and Old Testament, which together are sometimes called the "Scriptures." Judaism recognizes as scripture only the Hebrew Bible, also known as...

  • Deconstruction-and-religion
    Deconstruction-and-religion
    Those that take a deconstructive approach to religion identify closely with the work of Jacques Derrida, especially his work later in life. According to Slavoj Žižek, in the mid-to-late 1980s Derrida's work shifted from constituting a radical negative theology to being a form of Kantian idealism....

  • Exegesis
    Exegesis
    Exegesis is a critical explanation or interpretation of a text, especially a religious text. Traditionally the term was used primarily for exegesis of the Bible; however, in contemporary usage it has broadened to mean a critical explanation of any text, and the term "Biblical exegesis" is used...

  • Formulary controversy
    Formulary controversy
    The Formulary Controversy, in 17th century France, pitted the Jansenists against the Jesuits. It gave rise to Blaise Pascal's Lettres Provinciales, the condemnation by the Vatican of Casuistry, and the final dissolution of organised Jansenism.- Context :...

     concerning Jansenius' Augustinus
    Augustinus
    The Augustinus seu doctrina Sancti Augustini de humanae naturae sanitate, aegritudine, medicina adversus Pelagianos et Massilianses, known as the Augustinus, was a theological work in Latin by Cornelius Jansen...

    in the 17th century
  • Gemaṭria
    Gematria
    Gematria or gimatria is a system of assigning numerical value to a word or phrase, in the belief that words or phrases with identical numerical values bear some relation to each other, or bear some relation to the number itself as it may apply to a person's age, the calendar year, or the like...

  • Hermeneutics
  • Historical-grammatical method
    Historical-grammatical method
    The historical-grammatical method is a Christian hermeneutical method that strives to discover the Biblical author's original intended meaning in the text. It is the primary method of interpretation for many conservative Protestant exegetes who reject the so-called historical-critical method used...

  • Literary criticism
    Literary criticism
    Literary criticism is the study, evaluation, and interpretation of literature. Modern literary criticism is often informed by literary theory, which is the philosophical discussion of its methods and goals...

  • Literary theory
    Literary theory
    Literary theory in a strict sense is the systematic study of the nature of literature and of the methods for analyzing literature. However, literary scholarship since the 19th century often includes—in addition to, or even instead of literary theory in the strict sense—considerations of...

  • Noṭariḳon
    Notarikon
    Notarikon is a method of deriving a word, akin to the creation of an acronym, by using each of its initial or final letters to stand for another word, forming a sentence or idea out of the words. Another variation entails using the first and last letters, or the two middle letters of a word,...

  • Patternism
    Patternism
    Patternism is a method of comparing the teachings of the religions of the Ancient Near East whereby the similarities between these religions are assumed to constitute an overarching pattern. Opponents of this approach have employed the term patternism as a pejorative...

  • Postmodern Christianity
    Postmodern Christianity
    Postmodern Christianity is an outlook of Christianity that is closely associated with the body of writings known as postmodern philosophy. Although it is a relatively recent development in the Christian religion, some Christian postmodernists assert that their style of thought has an affinity with...

  • Principles of interpretation
    Principles of interpretation
    Principles of interpretation refers to methods used to understand language and texts, primarily legal documents and sacred texts.Principles of interpretation may be used in:- Christianity :...

  • Qur'anic hermeneutics
    Qur'anic hermeneutics
    Qur'anic hermeneutics is the study of theories of the interpretation and understanding of the Qur'an, the Muslim holy book. Throughout religious history, Qur'anic scholars have sought to mine the wealth of its meanings by developing a variety of different systems of...

  • Summary of Christian eschatological differences
  • Syncretism
    Syncretism
    Syncretism is the combining of different beliefs, often while melding practices of various schools of thought. The term means "combining", but see below for the origin of the word...

  • Table of books of Judeo-Christian Scripture
  • Talmudical Hermeneutics
    Talmudical Hermeneutics
    Talmudical Hermeneutics is the science which defines the rules and methods for the investigation and exact determination of the meaning of the Scriptures, both legal and historical...


Further reading

  • Duvall, J. Scott, and J. Daniel Hays. Grasping God's Word: A Hands on Approach to Reading, Interpreting, and Applying the Bible. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2001.
  • Kaiser, Walter C., and Moises Silva. An Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutics: The Search for Meaning.Rev. ed. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2007.
  • Klein, William W., Craig L. Blomberg, and Robert L. Hubbard. Introduction to Biblical Interpretation. Dallas, Tex.: Word Publishing, 1993.
  • Osborne, Grant R. The Hermeneutical Spiral: A Comprehensive Introduction to Biblical Interpretation. Second edition. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2006.
  • Ramm, Bernard. Protestant Biblical Interpretation: A Textbook of Hermeneutics. 3rd edition. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1970.
  • Tate, W. Randolph. Biblical Interpretation: An Integrated Approach. Rev. ed. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Pub., 1997.
  • Thistleton, Anthony. New Horizons in Hermeneutics. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1992.

  • De La Torre, Miguel A.
    Miguel A. De La Torre
    Miguel A. De La Torre is a professor of Social Ethics and Latino/a Studies at Iliff School of Theology, a religious scholar, author, and an ordained minister.-Biography:...

    , "Reading the Bible from the Margins," Orbis Books, 2002.

External links