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Monday, August 21, 2006

Euangelion: Christological Interpretation

Euangelion: Christological Interpretation

This recent post at Euangelion deals with the same topic that Michael Marlowe and I were discussing in comments to a recent post on BBB. The Euangelion post does not deal specifically with the issue of concern to me, namely, do we translate Old Testament passages to reflect messianic understandings of them reflected in their New Testament quotes?

The hermeneutical issues involved in that topic are complex and have been debated for a long time by Bible scholars. On his rich website, Michael Marlowe includes important articles on this topic and has good bibliographies which represent writings from different viewpoints, including ones which I would be more comfortable with for translation of Old Testament passages which are quoted in the New Testament. If you wish to learn more about the different approaches to understanding these issues, read these articles on Michael's website:
  1. New Testament Use of the Old Testament, by Roger Nicole
  2. Can We Reproduce The Exegesis Of The New Testament? By Scott A. Swanson
  3. Resources on Typology on other sites
  4. Chicago Statement on Biblical Hermeneutics
My own position is that Christ, my Messiah, fulfills the messianic longings in the Hebrew Bible. I agree with Michael Marlowe and others who see Christ's person and his significance as the central theme of both the Old and New Testaments. Where we differ is that I believe that there were local historical and cultural contexts within which Old Testament authors wrote, and I believe that scholarly integrity calls for us to translate the Old Testament passages according to their local contexts. In many cases, what they wrote directly referred to that local context, including the key prophecy of Isaiah 7:14 and Psalm 2 which I wrote about in a recent post. As a Christian I also believe the writings of the New Testament authors, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (as did the Old Testament authors), including when they quoted an Old Testament passage with a Christological meaning, rather than its original local meaning.

Typological hermeneutics, which Michael likes, is, historically, an important approach to understanding all of the Bible. I see value in using a typological hermeneutic as well as the historical-grammatical hermeneutic in which I was trained.

But for purposes of Bible translation, I think we need to translate any passage of the Bible to reflects its own unique historical and cultural context. Then, we can apply typological or other hermeneutics of our choice to those translated texts. To me, those interpretations come after the task of translating the text. As the speaker at our son-in-law's M.A. graduation from a Jewish school said this spring, "Text trumps interpretation."

It seems to me that translating every biblical passage in terms of its original context provides a more accurate resource for everyone who accesses the Bible, including those who study the Bible as scholars, but may not have an allegiance to Christianity of the New Testament, or perhaps have no religious faith at all. When we translate passages so that they reflect the original context in which they were written, it is easier for biblical historians and other scholars to see biblical connections to their own areas of scholarly interest.

In my opinion, those who call for use of literal and essentially literal translations should, to be consistent, call for such a translation approach to all parts of the Bible including those which Christians consider messianic, based on our belief in Jesus Christ as messiah and the arguments put forward in the New Testament to support that belief. Many of these arguments quote Hebrew Bible passages which had direct, local meanings when they were originally written. That does not at all take away from the fact that many of us--myself included--believe that the Holy Spirit wants us to see Christ our Messiah in those passages, and pictured in one way or another throughout all of the Bible.

2 Comments:

At Tue Aug 22, 09:14:00 AM, Blogger Seven Star Hand said...

Hello Wayne and all,

RE:"That does not at all take away from the fact that many of us--myself included--believe that the Holy Spirit wants us to see Christ our Messiah in those passages, and pictured in one way or another throughout all of the Bible."

I pose to you and others that the context and meaning of these ancient texts have been lost on those confused by the assertions of religious leaders and founders. Ancient wisdom has been purposely recast and obfuscated into religion and mysticism. Consequently, the interpretations presented about the sources and meaning of these texts and the philosophy and cosmology of ancient Hebrew sages is completely wrong. Before you scoff and write me off, you should understand that I speak from personal experience...

Understanding the Fatal Flaws in Judeo-Christian-Islamic Prophecy

Remember the saying that "the truth will set you (and others) free?" How does "opening one's eyes to the truth" relate to "making the blind see again" or "shining the light" or "illuminating a subject?" Notice the inherent symbolism associated with this supposed New Testament "miracle?"

As certain world leaders strive to instigate a fabricated "battle of Armageddon," it is vital to understand and spread the truth about these ancient texts to help bring about an end to such abominable evil. You can never expect philosophies based on lies and great error to lead to peace and harmony. How many more millennia of terrible proof is necessary before humanity finally gets a clue that most have been utterly deceived by the very concept of religion.

Without it, Bush, the Neo-Cons, and their cohorts could never have gained and retained political power by manipulating an already deluded and susceptible constituency. Likewise, their thinly veiled partners in crime, Bin Laden and his ilk, could never have succeeded in their roles in this centuries-old Vatican-led grand deception.

We are all trapped by a web of deception formed by money, religion, and politics. The great evils that bedevil us all will never cease until humanity finally awakens, shakes off these strong delusions, and forges a new path to the future.

Here is Wisdom...

Peace...

 
At Tue Nov 21, 06:06:00 PM, Blogger David W. Bailey said...

I have recently published the authorized biography of Roger Nicole, entitled Speaking the Truth in Love: The Life and Legacy of Roger Nicole. It is available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or the publisher, Solid Ground Christian Books.

 

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