Over at Fragmenta, Matt writes:
Peter Leithart suggests that “linking intention to the literal [sic] sense, while acknowledging multiple senses, makes possible a proliferating richness of meaning while preventing what Eco calls hermeneutical drift.” But I don’t care about proliferating meaning. I want to know “what Saint Paul really said” — which may or may not be “literal”, a word fraught with over-simplistic dichotomies. The other, “multiple senses”, if they differ from the author’s sense, are misreadings, in both the Bloomian sense of the word, and in the simplest sense of the word: they are wrong, and if we rely upon them, we are building with straw, setting ourselves up for future refutation and exposure as fools. As I attempt to relate one text to another within the Bible, these other “multiple senses” will be hindrances or distractions. Worse, if we embrace other senses of the text than the ones intended by the author (and there may be more than one of these!), we are likely to become the future “Old Perspective” or the future “Law/Gospel hermeneutic,” fighting losing rear-guard actions against the tide of new scholarship that is, horrifyingly, armed with something much closer to the original authorial meaning. (That, in a nutshell, is the reason for the success of N.T. Wright and other NPP authors who pose such a threat to the old perspective.)
On this occasion I can’t quite agree with Matt, although I apprecaite and share many of his concerns with other approaches. Whilst the original meaning of the text is always important and should not be lost sight of, the meaning of the text is far greater than its original meaning. I appreciate the value and importance of such readings of Scripture that Matt speaks of. However, important as such readings of the Scriptures are, it was not the approach adopted by the apostles, who habitually interpreted the OT in a manner that placed the accent on the multiple senses that went beyond the original sense and occasionally even appeared to run contrary to it.
I am presently enjoying reading Peter Leithart’s commentary on 1 & 2 Kings in the SCM theological commentary series. In the series preface, R.R. Reno makes my point as follows:
Precisely as Scripture—a living, functioning text in the present life of faith—the Bible is not semantically fixed.
I suspect that Matt and I differ to some extent in our understanding of what the task of interpreting the Scriptures entails. However, many of his concerns are my own and I recommend that you read his post, even if you end up disagreeing with him on a number of points.
PCA report on NPP/FV: some concerns 1
PCA report on NPP/FV: some concerns 2
PCA report on NPP/FV: some concerns 3
PCA report on NPP/FV: some concerns 4
PCA report on NPP/FV: some concerns 5
PCA report on NPP/FV: some concerns 6
PCA report on NPP/FV: conclusions
On the subject of the PCA report, I would also recommend this very interesting perspective on the report from the perspective of canon law, written by Jordan Siverd.
If what you believe and teach concerning the Supper couldn’t be misinterpreted by some people as sounding like cannibalism, then your understanding and/or teaching of the Supper is deficient.
John also has some very interesting observations from David Jenkins, the former bishop of Durham (part 1, part 2). John also has a very good post on the subject of Christian children.
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