Wednesday, December 07, 2016
Tuesday, December 06, 2016
Of course, we all have our own "magisterium." We just don't often acknowledge it, do we? We always are interpreting things from our own context. Usually we don't even realize it, it's that subconscious. I just finished a book entitled Thinking, Fast and Slow (watch for excerpts soon) that discusses the role of the subconscious in our day-to-day functioning.
The fully rational human is an illusion. To realize we can never step fully outside ourselves is what Postmodernism is supposed to have taught us—despite what other side effects it might have had : ) The problem is we didn't learn it. I guess that's one more reason we need the "hound of heaven," the Holy Spirit, to break through our subconscious walls and show us who we are and what we can be in Christ. Now there's a phrase that is loaded with meaning, "in Christ."
Friday, December 02, 2016
Thursday, December 01, 2016
Of course, we could apply the same logic to some (most?) interpretations of scripture in the 21st century, couldn't we? And that's why a Christocentric hermeneutic is so important! If the Bible is all about Jesus (and as a Christian, I believe it is), then we should make Jesus the center of our hermeneutic.
Of course, how that plays out in our hermeneutics is the rub, isn't it? Which Jesus do we use as the model? The incarnate, cruciform one in the Gospels, Acts, and most of the Epistles? Or the triumphant, conquering king of Revelation? Of course, I would argue that the conquering king is really the lamb, slain from the foundation of the world. But, others take the triumphant messiah as their starting point and reinterpret all the servant/cruciform stuff through the militaristic lens. And so, in some ways, we are back to square one, aren't we?
This is really about one's presuppositions, not about scripture at all. But it influences—actually, it controls—our interpretation of scripture. If I start with the presupposition that the U.S. is God's chosen vessel (and a holy one, too), then I will interpret scripture much differently than if I start with the presupposition that, yes, God uses the U.S. in the world, but it is not God's chosen nation—unless you want to say that it is chosen in the same way that God chose Assyria—and then judged her when she overstepped her bounds (see Habakkuk).
Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Ada Szczepaniec, an agricultural entomologist at Texas A&M University, investigated the outbreak. Her study found that it was not just the elms, but also crops such as corn and soybeans that had been sprayed by the pesticide also showed spider mite outbreaks. When investigating soybeans, she found that exposure to the neonicotinoid pesticides altered their genes involved with the cell wall and defense against pests, and changed them in such a way that the plant became more vulnerable to infestation. Other researchers noticed correlation as well, and recorded spider mite outbreaks on corn and other crops.I hate slugs! The last thing we need is more of those in the garden! Of course, I also am against the use of pesticides in general. We're basically killing ourselves...
As well as spider mite outbreaks, the pesticide has had other quantitative effects as well, like an outbreak of slugs, due to the pesticide killing off their predators.
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
It will simply not be enough for our colleges to crank out graduates described by one of my colleagues as “drones with smartphones.” We need our librarians to work alongside faculty in helping our students climb the ladder of digital literacy to information fluency, and from there, to equip them with the cognitive grounding in critical thinking so important for taking those deep dives into knowing and understanding. Unless further advances produce e-reading devices that can more fully engage the human brain’s perceptual and cognitive subsystems, solid research evidence compels the conclusion that we must provide our students with a substantial exposure to printed texts. (emphasis original)
How to explain this diversity is a much-discussed problem. Some postulate an original text, or one as close as we can get to it, from which the diversity developed. Others, however, argue for textual traditions that originated independently of each other. Given the high percentage of agreement among the texts, the first possibility seems to be more likely. At any rate, it is clear that the diversity did not alter the authority of the text and the esteem in which it was held. There was anything but a slavish word-for-word fidelity. Even if readings differed, for the scribes and readers of the biblical books, the same text always contained the word of God for all time, and consequently for them and their time.—The Prophets of Israel, page 94
I'm reminded of a snippet from a forthcoming book from Augsburg/Fortress, Isaiah Old and New: Exegesis, Intertextuality, and Hermeneutics:
…however uncomfortable it may make some modern interpreters of the Bible, in the NT era there was assumed to be a fluidity to these scriptural texts such that even the paraphrastic Greek versions of the MT could still be assumed to be the Word of God, and one was free to go with the version which more nearly made one’s point, in this case a christological point. The canon of the OT was relatively fixed and closed in the NT era for most books, such as Isaiah, but the text itself was not absolutely fixed at that juncture.For some this is indeed a problem, isn't it? But my faith is built on Christ and his faithfulness, not on the Bible. Yes, the Bible reveals Christ, but I know enough about textual transmission to question inerrancy and it's straightjacket approach to the text. As the hymn says:
My hope is built on nothing less than Zondervan and Moody Press..No, that's wrong; let's try again:
My hope is built on nothing less than Scofield's Notes and Moody Press...Still wrong! How about this:
My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousnessAnd the scripture bears witness to that, so I guess you would have to classify my hermeneutic as Christocentric.
Here's what Ron Hendel says in his recent collection of essays, Steps to a New Edition of the Hebrew Bible (from chapter 11, I don't have the page number handy):
As Roland Bainton observes, for Luther “inspiration did not insure inerrancy in all details. Luther recognized mistakes and inconsistencies in Scripture and treated them with lofty indifference because they did not touch the heart of the Gospel.” [Roland H. Bainton, “The Bible in the Reformation,” in The Cambridge History of the Bible. Volume 3: The West from the Reformation to the Present Day, ed. Stanley L. Greenslade (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1963), 12] Where minor errors occur, as when Matthew 27:9 mistakenly cites Jeremiah instead of Zechariah, Luther responds: “Such points do not bother me particularly.” [ibid., 13] Similarly, in his commentaries Calvin is not bothered by errors in the text where they are unrelated to matters of faith and salvation. [See Brian A. Gerrish, “The Word of God and the Words of Scripture: Luther and Calvin on Biblical Authority,” in The Old Protestantism and the New: Essays on the Reformation Heritage (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982), 62–63] He acknowledges minor errors without anxiety, as in the contradictions among the Gospels: “It is well known that the Evangelists were not very concerned with observing the time sequences.” [John Calvin, Commentaires sur le Nouveau Testament. Tome premier: Sur la concordance ou harmonie composée de trois évangélistes (Paris, Meyrueis, 1854), 319 (at Luke 8:19): “on sçait bien que les Evangélistes ne se sont pas guères arrestez à observer l’ordre des temps.” Cited in William J. Bouwsma, John Calvin: A Sixteenth Century Portrait (New York: Oxford University Press, 1988), 121–22]So I stand in the finest tradition, lest you be tempted to paint me as a heretic : )