Hermeneutics: Principles and Processes of Biblical Interpretation
Chapter Two: "History of Biblical Interpretation"
1. Ancient Jewish Exegesis
...every incidental detail of the text possessed spiritual significance.
Literal: This type of commentary was expected to be known by everyone.
Midrash: comparison of ideas, words, or phrased without proper attention to their contexts.
Pesher: Everything the ancient prophets wrote had a yielded prophetic meaning.
Allegorical: Beneath the literal meaning of Scripture lay the true meaning.
2. New Testament use of the Old Testament:
The New Testament writers present the typology not as the meaning of the Old Testament text but as a contemporary event analogous to God's past actions.
3. Patristic Exegesis:
The School of Alexandria-Scriptures hid their true meaning which were available only to those who understand the deeper spiritual sense. (The body is the literal sense, the soul the moral or ethical sense, and the spirit the allegorical or mystical sense.--Origen)
Syrian School of Antioch-Theodore of Mopuestia staunchly defended the principle of grammaical-historical interpretation.
The Western School-In practice Augustine forsook most of his own principles and tended toward excessive allegorizing. (Scripture had a fourfold sense; historical, etiological, analogical, & allegorical.)
4. Medieval Exegesis:
Interpretation was bound by tradition, and the allegorical method was prominent. Four levels of meaning: letter shows us what God and our fathers did, allegory shows us where our faith is hid, moral meaning gives us rules of daily life, and analogy shows us were we end our strife.
5. Reformation Exegesis:
Luther believed Scripture itself should determine what the church teaches, the Bible is a clear book. Calvin believed that spiritual illumination is necessary and regarded allegorical interpretation as a contrivance of Satan to obscure the sense of Scripture.
6. Post-Reformation Exegesis:
With Confessionalism exegesis became the handmaid of dogmatics and often degenerated into mere proof-texting. Later many Pietists discarded the grammatical-historical basis of interpretation and depended instead on an "inward light." In Rationalism human reason stood in judgement over God's Word.
7. Modern Hermeneutics:
In Liberalism and the Historical-Critical Method reason determined what parts of revelation (if any) were accepted as true. Neoorthodoxy held that Scripture was just mankind's response to god's revelation of himself. When a person reads the words of Scripture and responds to God's presence in faith, revelation occurs.
8. The Mid-Twentieth Century and Beyond:
The "new hermeneutic" (Bultmann, Fuchs, and Ebeling) asserted that the author of the text is inaccessible to the reader, so the reader should not and cannot arrive at the author's intended meaning. Second, the reader is a contributor to the interpretive process through their core beliefs, life experience, etc. Structuralism analizes the structure to discover the paradigm of a text and the underlying literary myth in which the meaning resides. Reader Response feels each reader is to derive meaning through his or her interaction with the text because the text is incomplete until the individual reader participates in it. Deconstructuralism holds that it is impossible to determine an fixed meaning of the text so it is open to multiple interpretations.
9. Orthodox Christianity:
The task of the interpreter is to understand more fully the intended meaning of the original author.