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Apply the whole of ourselves to the text; Apply the text wholly to yourself! J.A. Bengel (1687-1752). Bengel worded it as an exhortation. With us as the active agents in the interpretive process. However, what if we write it this way , Apply the whole of ourselves to the text;

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Apply the whole of ourselves to the text apply the text wholly to yourself

Apply the whole of ourselves to the text;

Apply the text wholly to yourself!

J.A. Bengel (1687-1752)


Apply the whole of ourselves to the text apply the text wholly to yourself


Apply the whole of ourselves to the text apply the text wholly to yourself

However, what if we write it this way,

Apply the whole of ourselves to the text;

And the text will apply itself wholly to you!


Apply the whole of ourselves to the text apply the text wholly to yourself

  • This becomes more of a promise relying upon an outside agent, the Holy Spirit.

  • The Bible ceases to be an object; rather the Word takes hold of us.

  • We bring questions to the Bible and the Word in turn questions us.

  • We come to the Bible as a container with meaning and the Word transforms reading into an encounter.

  • E.g., Beethoven’s 9th as a music score or as an event


Three worlds of text
Three Worlds of Text agent, the Holy Spirit.

In present scholarship, we can categorize three different groups of theories, regarding the location of meaning

1. World Behind the text (Author-centered)

2. World Within the text (Text-centered)

3. World in front of the text (Reader-centered)


Three worlds of text1
Three Worlds of Text agent, the Holy Spirit.

  • World Behind the text (Author-centered)

  • Meaning is assumed to lie in the author’s intention formulated in terms of social, political, and cultural matrix of the author. Questions asked, “What prompted Luke to write this?” “What did he mean when he wrote?” “What historical situations influenced his work?”


Three worlds of the text
Three Worlds of the Text agent, the Holy Spirit.

  • World Behind the text(Author-centered)

  • Three Critical Approaches associated with historical-critical method:

  • Source Criticism – Synoptic Problem

  • Form Criticism – Bultmann

  • Redaction Criticism – Author as Theologian


Three worlds of the text1
Three Worlds of the Text agent, the Holy Spirit.

  • 1. World Behind the text(Author-centered)

    • Problem with looking for meaning only with this historical approach:

    • With the huge amount of attention given to the world behind the text . . . The text itself and the reader was overlooked.


Three worlds of the text2
Three Worlds of the Text agent, the Holy Spirit.

  • 2. World Within the text(Text-centered)

    • Emphasis upon the text as the place where meaning is housed

    • Rise of Literary Criticism


Three worlds of the text3
Three Worlds of the Text agent, the Holy Spirit.

  • 2. World Within the text(Text-centered)

    • Problem:

    • Text becomes autonomous, disconnected from history, author, and reader.

    • Text becomes a “container” for meaning, to be conquered


Three worlds of the text4
Three Worlds of the Text agent, the Holy Spirit.

  • 3. World in front of text (Reader-centered)

    • Each reader brings to the text a different set of presuppositions, experiences, interests, competencies

    • Reader “creates” meaning in his/her encounter with the text

    • Rise of Reader-Response Criticism


Three worlds of the text5
Three Worlds of the Text agent, the Holy Spirit.

  • 3. World in front of text (Reader-centered)

    • Problem:

    • Meaning can be seen as an invention of the reader, separate from the intention of the author or the historical situation at work in the original writing.

    • Each reading is a new meaning. No “stable meaning of a text.”


Three worlds of the text6
Three Worlds of the Text agent, the Holy Spirit.

  • Answer: An Integrated Solution

    • Meaning is a conversation between:

    • Narrative World of Text

    • Real World of Reader

    • Historical World of the Author

    • Interpretation will be impaired when any one world is given exclusive reign while neglecting of the other two!


Simple communication matrix
Simple Communication Matrix agent, the Holy Spirit.

Sender

Speaker

(or author)

Message

Spoken

(or written)

Receiver

Listener

(or reader)

Feedback


Biblical interpretation
Biblical Interpretation agent, the Holy Spirit.

Spirit

Spirit

Reading

Event

Writer

Thinks

2000 Year

Space - Time Barrier

Moves

Moves

Our Task

1. Observe Text

Written

Text

2. Ask Key Text-Driven Questions

3. Answer Questions Using Textual Evidence and Interpretive tools (Word Studies/Cultural Historical Background, etc.)