Hermeneutics, Intertextuality and the Contemporary Meaning of Scripture

Hermeneutics, Intertextuality and the Contemporary Meaning of Scripture

Ross Cole
Paul Petersen
Copyright Date: 2014
Published by: ATF (Australia) Ltd.
Pages: 314
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  • Book Info
    Hermeneutics, Intertextuality and the Contemporary Meaning of Scripture
    Book Description:

    ’Did Matthew "twist" the Scriptures?’ ’Where did Satan come from?’ ’My Reading? Your Reading? Author (-ity) and Postmodern Hermeneutics.’ ’Paul and Moses: Hermeneutics from the Top Down.’ Learning from Ellen White’s Perception and Use of Scripture: Toward An Adventist Hermeneutic For The Twenty-First Century. Questions and issues like these are presented in this selection of papers and presentations from a Bible conference at Avondale College on the broad topic of intertextuality. More than 100 scholars and administrators convened and shared their research as well as their personal perspectives on how to read and apply holy Scripture in the 21st century. This anthology contains a representative sample of their studies and reflections.

    eISBN: 978-1-921817-99-1
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Paul B Petersen

    More than 110 scholars, ministers, and administrators convened at Avondale College in Cooranbong, Australia, in the summer of 2003 for the first Bible Conference of its kind for a long time. They were there at the invitation of the South Pacific Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and for many of the participants this was the first such conference ever. A word of gratitude is to be extended to the leadership of the Division, in particular Pastor Laurie Evans and Dr Barry Oliver, who had the vision and provided the funding for this and subsequent conferences.

    The focus was on...

  4. PART ONE Intertextuality:: Foundations and Principles
    • The Pros and Cons of Intertextuality
      (pp. 3-16)
      H Ross Cole

      The last few decades have witnessed a growing scholarly recognition of the contributions that the application of contemporary literary perspectives and conventions can make to biblical studies.¹ In particular, there has been a growing awareness of the value of intertextual study. For many scholars, the emphasis on intertextuality comes as a breath of fresh air. It is as though source criticism had done a cut and paste job on the Bible, subordinating the authority of some parts to others, denying the possibility of effectively interrelating even adjacent passages of Scripture. Now we have the whole Bible back again:

      For at...

    • The Bible as Text
      (pp. 17-26)
      Ray CW Roennfeldt

      If nothing else, postmodernism has reminded us of the influence that our own experience has on how we interpret Scripture. We bring as our ‘text’ to the text, as it were. But if all of us bring our own ‘texts’ to the text of Scripture, how will we interpret it in a consistent, meaningful, and nourishing fashion? Such is the disparity among Bible-believing Christians regarding the ‘plain meaning’ of Scripture that some have given up the idea that Scripture is to be interpreted. Rather, they say it should be merely read or listened to, whereby the biblical worldview will automatically...

  5. PART TWO The Relationship between the Testaments
    • New Testament Use of the Old Testament
      (pp. 29-50)
      Jon Paulien

      The issue of the New Testament use of the Old Testament is a major one, involving research on every book of the Bible. My particular area of study has been the use of the Old Testament in the Book of Revelation, so I will focus on the scholarly debate as it pertains to Revelation, but the implications of that debate extend to all the other books of the New Testament. After surveying the debate regarding Revelation as a basis for outlining the primary issue, I will use a well-known passage in Matthew 2 as a test case.

      In the broad...

    • Did Matthew ʹTwistʹ the Scriptures? A Case Study in the New Testament Use of the Old Testament
      (pp. 51-66)
      Richard M Davidson

      One of the most crucial issues in biblical theology is the question of the relationship between the Old and New Testaments, and in particular, the use of Old Testament quotations by New Testament writers.¹ Those who maintain a high view of Scripture recognise the Bible’s self-testimony affirming the fundamental unity and harmony among its various parts.² Accepting this affirmation has in the past led to the assumption that the New Testament writers remain faithful to the original Old Testament contexts in their citation of Old Testament passages. This has been the consistent position of Christian scholarship until the rise of...

    • Paul and Moses in 2 Corinthians 3: Hermeneutics from the Top Down
      (pp. 67-78)
      David H Thiele

      Paul’s argument in his discussion of the new covenant in 2 Corinthians 3 is difficult for any reader. A steady stream of articles and monographs on various features of the chapter bear eloquent testimony to its difficulty.¹ The flow of Paul’s argument is not immediately transparent. ‘It seems as though the obscurity of this passage is impenetrable and that the commentaries lead us to the conclusion: “so many men, so many minds”.’² Letters written with ink on parchment—letters of recommendation (2 Cor 3:1)—morph into the letters of the law engraved on stone tablets (verse 3). The veil on...

  6. PART THREE Bringing Our Text to the Text
    • Our Story as Text
      (pp. 81-88)
      Ray CW Roennfeldt

      Biblical interpretation is a crucial subject for all Christian believers. If the Bible is the Magna Carta for the Christian community (2 Tim 3:16–17), it is important that the community and individuals within it understand and apply the Scriptures correctly. The Seventh-day Adventist Church is an example of a denomination that has long recognised the necessity of following proper hermeneutical rules. For instance, the Millerites, clearly spelled out their ‘rules’ as follows:

      1. The Bible contains a revelation from God to humankind, and of course must be the best, plainest and simplest that can be given. It is a revelation...

    • The Use of Scripture in Cross Cultural Context
      (pp. 89-94)
      Matupit Darius

      In the past God spoke to our forefathers through prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.¹

      When ‘God spoke to our forefathers’, he used their language, customs, symbols, modes of dress, value systems, and ways of dealing with each other. For example, when God and two angels appeared to Abraham ‘near the great trees of Mamre’ (Gen 18:1), they participated in the local customs. After accepting Abraham’s hospitality, the men washed their...

    • My Reading? Your Reading? Author(ity) and Postmodern Hermeneutics
      (pp. 95-114)
      Grenville JR Kent

      Postmodernism, a loosely related group of memes in philosophy, cultural theory, gender relations, design, the arts and popular culture, also has its own literary hermeneutics. Its philosophical stance is skepticism, as expressed by Jean-Francois Lyotard’s 1979 call to rebel against ‘grand narratives’, those inherited ‘universal theories of Western culture’.²

      One key concept is Jacques Derrida’s late-60s term ‘deconstruction’, which means to read a text not for one ‘true’ meaning but for many possibilities of meaning, including those contrary to the author’s apparent intentions. Derrida advocated close reading to notice ‘hierarchies’, ‘repressed contradictions and inherent vulnerabilities’ rather than a consistent viewpoint,...

  7. PART FOUR Issues in the Interpretation of Ellen G White
    • Learning from Ellen Whiteʹs Perception and Use Of Scripture: Toward An Adventist Hermeneutic For The Twenty-First Century
      (pp. 117-140)
      Arthur Patrick

      Ellen Gould Harmon White (1827–1915) is the most prolific, most published and most influential author amongst some thirteen million Seventh-day Adventists (SDA) distributed within 204 nations.¹ White’s literary career began in New England during the 1840s and endured into the second decade of the twentieth century, involving extended travels in the United States of America as well as in parts of Europe and Australasia.²

      Early attempts at analysis of White’s concepts and use of Scripture were hampered by the difficulty of achieving access to her entire literary corpus and the absence of adequate search aids for her voluminous writings....

    • Hermeneutics of Parable Interpretation in Ellen White Compared to Those of Archbishop Trench
      (pp. 141-152)
      Robert K McIver

      It is probably an exaggeration to date the interpretation of parables BJ and AJ—before Jülicher’ and ‘after Jülicher’—but only a slight one. From the second to the nineteenth centuries there was one dominant way to expound parables, that of allegory.¹ Jülicher’s work and publications changed that. His decisive contribution was to gather all previous comment on each of the parables, almost all of them allegorical in nature. An allegorical approach to a particular parable may well have had persuasive force when it was given, whether during the time of the church Fathers or during the Reformation. However, changing...

    • Lifestyle And Hermeneutics: A Hermeneutic for the Writings of Ellen White and Contemporary Adventist Lifestyle Issues
      (pp. 153-170)
      Barry D Oliver

      How do Adventists who live in the twenty-first century understand the observations of Ellen White with respect to lifestyle? Most of her instructions were written over one hundred years ago in a very specific cultural and historical context. What does Adventists’ practical application of her instructions tell us about the way in which they are interpreting her writings? And why do some say that her writings are no longer relevant? These are fascinating questions that should be addressed candidly and openly by Seventh-day Adventists who are committed to fulfilling the gospel commission of Jesus and take seriously the mandate that...

    • Ellen Whiteʹs Use of Scripture
      (pp. 171-196)
      Jon Paulien

      Seventh-day Adventist interpreters share a deep appreciation of the writings of Ellen G White. Her comments on the Bible stimulate much productive insight into the treatment of various Bible passages in light of the ultimate ‘big picture;’ the cosmic perspective often known as the ‘Great Controversy’. She also offers many creative insights into the details of various texts and helpful summaries of the backgrounds to biblical books and their narratives. Her devotional insights, generated in passing, are inspiring and often exhilarating.

      Unfortunately, there is a darker side to all of this. Well-meaning interpreters have treated her off-handed comments about biblical...

    • The Influence of Ellen White Towards an Adventist Understanding of Inspiration
      (pp. 197-224)
      Graeme S Bradford

      Ellen White’s credentials as a prophet within the Adventist Church are under attack. Any search engine on the internet will find scores of anti-Ellen White sites. The trouble with this material is that a significant amount of it is true. Basically Adventists have three choices:

      1. They can resist and ignore the material and go on with business as usual. This option would cost them many honest members who will feel the Church has betrayed them.

      2. They can carry on with an attitude that ‘we don’t care’. This option would produce social Adventists with no sense of mission.

      3. They can go...

  8. PART FIVE Other Studies
    • A Feast of Reason—The Legacy of William Miller on Seventh-day Adventist Hermeneutics
      (pp. 227-238)
      Jeff Crocombe

      In his historical survey of Seventh-day Adventist views on inspiration, Alberto Timm makes the following observation: ‘Seventh-day Adventists inherited their early views of scripture from their former denominations and the Millerites.’¹ This essay will test the validity of this assertion, particularly the important role attributed to Millerite views. It will consider the sources of Miller’s hermeneutics, and then explore their impact on contemporary Seventh-day Adventist approaches.

      William Miller stated that his beliefs were founded upon a systematic reading of the Bible, verse by verse, from beginning to end with a commitment not to proceed until the passage made sense and...

    • Where Did Satan Come From?
      (pp. 239-254)
      Andrew Skeggs

      One of the most important parts of appreciating a story is identifying and understanding the main characters, including their origin and background. The key characters in the Christian story are God, Satan, and the human race. The Bible reveals the origin of humanity and teaches us that the eternal God has no origin. But where does Satan come from? This study will examine what the Bible actually tells us about the origin of Satan, namely about his origin, and his fall.

      This is a particularly enlightening topic for study because it illustrates the development of theological ideas during the biblical...

    • Historicism in the Twenty-First Century
      (pp. 255-274)
      Donna Worley

      Adventism at the beginning of the twenty-first century is being challenged by an increasing diversity in apocalyptic prophetic interpretation.¹ For over a hundred years there was little variation in the standard Adventist interpretation of Daniel and Revelation, but that started changing around fifty years ago.²

      On one hand, the danger is expressed by denominational scholars and leaders by noting that counter-reformation approaches are ‘knocking at the Adventist door’ in the form of preterism and futurism.³ On the other hand, there is a wide range of responses from those who are uncomfortable with historicism or at least some aspects of it....

    • The Fatherhood of God
      (pp. 275-292)
      David Tasker

      The Christian religion, like every other religion, stands or falls by its conception of God, and to that conception of God the idea of the Fatherhood of God is integral.¹

      How do we understand the concept of God? Where do we draw our ideas from? This essay takes up the challenge of Selbie’s perceptive and provocative statement in three steps: first, through an historical overview of Christian theology; second, through an examination of ideas from the ancient Near East (ANE); and third, through an exploration of Old Testament theology.

      Origen recognises that the fatherhood of God lies at the heart...

  9. Subject Index
    (pp. 293-294)
  10. Author Index
    (pp. 295-302)
  11. Scriptural Index
    (pp. 303-308)