Global Interpretations of Christian Scriptures

Global Interpretations of Christian Scriptures

GLOBAL INTERPRETATIONS OF CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES RLST 206 AND DIV 3845 Feb 6 2012 Today a) 3:10-3:55 Contemporary Models for the Interpretation of Scriptures: INTER(CON)TEXTUAL HERMENEUTICS: In a World Context pp. 33-49, 71-75. b) 3:55-4:55 Group Discussion (inter(con)textual interpretations of :

Lamentations Gospel of John d) 4:55-5:30 Lecture: Classical Models for the Interpretation of Scriptures: Apocalyptic Judaism, Matthew, and Paul Visit on Sunday Feb. 19: Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church 4905 Franklin Pike Nashville, TN 37220

The Divine Liturgy (worship service; 10:00 am) followed by Q & A with Fr. Gregory Hohnholt Have questions ready out of your readings of Greek Orthodox interpretations of the Gospel of John and of Hebrews in the Global Bible Commentary We will organize rides (leaving campus 9:15)? From where? Who can provide a ride? Next Week: Sign up If you deal with John today you cannot next week So very simple ! Group 1: John GBC by Petros Vassiliadis (Greece)

Presenter of GBC : George Greene Leader: Miladys Perez Group 2: Letter to the Hebrews by Stelian Tofan Presenter of GBC : Chanel Baker Leader : Alison Stuhl Respondent: Michael Durham Your quizzes Either excellent

Or very poor Demonstrating that you have not done the readings Some in the middle, Demonstrating that you had carefully done the readings with some confusions

And some absent, for various reasons No makeup. We will have an additional quiz, and we will drop your lower grade (which might be an absence) Scriptural Criticism: 3 dimensions of reading Scripture Very quickly: Two weeks ago We have seen that

all interpretations are inculturated = influenced by the (cultural) context from which we read. This means that our Textual Choices are viewed as LEGITIMATE, = grounded in the text, according to our culture Theological/hermeneutical choices are viewed as PLAUSIBLE according to our culture Contextual Choices are viewed as VALID (= valuable) according to our cultural life-context Last week, Liberation Interpretations Very quickly: Focused on Interpretive Contextual Choices

Ethical/moral test: Loving Neighbor How is this text as interpreted helpful in a specific life-context? Is it the best? The most helpful? And avoiding negative effects? As Brian noted, this assessment is very different if we are in North America and in Latin America Involves a particular Theologicalhermeneutical choices: Scripture as corrective lenses Last week, Liberation Interpretations

Very quickly: We have seen that Using scripture as corrective glasses believers purposefully use Scripture to see their social life-context in a new light Or to see the lights (Tamez: lanterns in the barrios; stars) Scripture as Prophecy: giving believers to see what others cannot or will not see Prophecy as critique of society as it is And as utopian ideology. A critique of culture as present (problematic) ideology

Yet, NOTE: ALL Scriptural Interpretations involves seeing the believers life-context in a different light word-to-live-by believers necessarily see their social context in a different way. Envisioning a certain way to interact with others and their social contexts Constructively

E.g. affirming what is positive in this context; Schools, Hospitals, church programs, Room in the Inn (churches offering shelter for homeless during cold nights); Ten-Thousand Villages (fair-trade store) Antagonistically E.g. denouncing injustices; oppression; slavery; abuses; denouncing systemic evilcolonialism and today neo-colonialism Very quickly: Despite common views, most Interpretations by believers are Legitimate and Plausible As long as we do not recognize that other

peoples interpretations Interpretations by CHRISTIAN BELIEVERS from all kinds of origin and cultural contexts around the world As well as interpretations by ordinary CHRISTIAN BELIEVERS in Western churches, including Fundamentalist, Charismatic and Prosperity Gospel Christian movements are as LEGITIMATE and PLAUSIBLE as those by biblical scholars It is IMPOSSIBLE to discuss with them the validity of our respective choices of

interpretations Finding that other peoples interpretations are strange or seem wrong is a call 1) very quick Finding that other peoples interpretations are strange or seem wrong is a call 2) very quick Respecting the interpretations of others also in class = Reading with them Then we truly READ WITH THEM And are in a position to Discuss with them the VALIDITY for specific contexts of our respective

interpretations. Today: Inter(con)textual Interpretations Focused on Interpretive Theological /Hermeneutical Choices How to make sense of the biblical text? Issue: PLAUSIBILITY of the text and what it says about human life. The Biblical Text Makes Sense for us if, and if only, we read it in terms of other texts or significant events of our lives and cultures.

Read over against other texts or in line with other texts Inter(con)textual Interpretations Christian believers always read the biblical text TOGETHER WITH OTHER UNRELATED TEXTS of their culture and life . . . Otherwise. . . The biblical text does not make sense (is not plausible)

Believers cannot live-by the Bible, as long as they cannot relate it in a meaningful way to their lives. Inter(con)textual Interpretations How to make sense of life? Through texts Role of the master narrative, the big story (the story that generates all the other stories in our culture, or community, or life) Texts make sense by presupposing the master narrative;

Example: journalistic texts. E.g., Standard journalistic coverage of political events in election time, a lot of stories about the candidates on all kinds of issues What is happening? Yes but, look at the story of their lives. ALL follow the master narrative about winning who is going to win, issues important for winning, people contributing to the candidates; winning or not winning. Inter(con)textual Interpretations Super Bowl makes sense when seen through a master narrative of winning

Winning is all what counts; all eyes are on the New York Giants (those who lost are soon ignored and forgotten By the way, who lost last night? These losers and the repeated sacks are better forgotten!) Classics of a culture are expressions of the master narrative (Gadamer) Everything which does not fit the master narrative is ignored, silenced, excluded. Inter(con)textual Interpretations: Biblical Texts making sense by presupposing a master narrative Inter(con)textual

Interpretations Texts make sense for Americans in terms of an American Master Narrative Actually, several American Master Narratives. For each: What is the ultimate goal of life? What is success?

How to attain success? What are the obstacles? Their root problem? How are obstacles overcome? By whom? What happens to other people? Inter(con)textual Interpretations Everything which does not fit the master narrative is ignored, silenced, excluded. YET Counter-Cultural Texts make sense of life by challenging the master narrative

Novels; poetry; arts= Showing there is more to life than what the master narrative allows us to see by-passing the master narrative Giving voice to what is ignored, silenced, excluded. Inter(con)textual Interpretations Making sense of a biblical text by reading it with

other texts that reflect the master narrative: Positively: Finding concordance between the biblical text and these other texts: How does the biblical text prolong and reinforce the master narrative (and the other texts)? What Kyung-mi Park does with Buddhist traditions Negatively: Emphasizing the differences between the biblical text and the other texts and their master narrative Reading Biblical, Scriptural text as resistance literature = as iconoclastic Inter(con)textual Interpretations

Making sense of a biblical text by reading it with texts that challenge the master narrative: Positively: Finding concordance with these other texts Biblical text as resistance literature with other resistance literature = iconoclastic What Lee does, reading with the countercultural poems of the mothers of Tiananmen Square Negatively: Challenging these other texts which challenge the master narrative Conforming = condoning the master narrative Inter(con)textual Interpretations Role of Scripture: Making sense of life with Scripture while reading it with other texts

Scripture as providing a Master Narrative: Scripture as Family Album Book of the Covenant. Scripture as Good News Providing a totally different master narrative with glorious outcome EITHER Finding concordance between biblical text and our master narrative and its texts; rejection of Iconoclastic literature : How the biblical text give the complete master narrative completing the master narrative of other texts?

OR Using Scripture as a Counter-Master Narrative The Good News for which iconoclastic texts (countermaster narrative texts) are longing Scripture as the Whisper Putting on Flesh (Brian Blount, 14-15) Biblical text as resistance literature Additional Issue for Discussion What is the inter(con)text the

intertext YOU presupposed? What is the master narrative you presupposed? What is the root-problem for it? The overall/major problem? What is the solution for it? What is the role of Scripture you presupposed? Lee Chi Chung Archie Lamentations and Poems of Tiananmen Square massacre Presenter of GBC : Toni Bland

Leader : Brenda Kao Respondent: Julia Rushing General Respondents: Chanel Baker Annie Ameha Brian Rossbert Courtney Drescher Miladys Perez Brendan Matthews Alison Stuhl Kyung Mi Park, with Sawako Nakayasu, Kiriu Minashita, Takako Arai,

Rachel Levitsky GROUP # 2 GOSPEL OF JOHN Presenter: Julie Carli Leader: Brittany Melvin Respondent: Kathryn Biddle General Respondents: Alex Dahlgreen Samantha Hesley Michael Durham Shaun Kahler Zachery King George Greene Nicky Hackett

Discussion 3:55-4:55 Leader: 7-8 minutes main points of the differences between Lees or Parks inter(con)textual interpretations and the leaders Respondent: 5-6 minutes main points of the differences between Lees or Parks inter(con)textual interpretation, the leaders, and the respondents Which intertext (or contextual master narrative) is used? What is emphasized in the text? What Problem? Rootproblem? Role of Scripture? for

same questions General respondents: 46 minutes what are the main points of differences between Lees or Parks inter(con)textual interpretation, the leaders, the respondents and yours. What is at stake? Is this important or not from the perspective of YOUR Park Kyung-Mis Inter(con)text as she reads John in Korea: Making sense of John by reading it with Buddhist texts from her context

The mantras recited by Buddhist monks = like Jesus' mysterious language in John when Jesus interacts with people (= VISION) Zen concept regarding the spirit within, energy without Give to the de-spirited Christians a vision of the Paraclete (the Spirit, 14:26) as the divine external energy that helps the community to love and is correlated to the internal spirituality through which the community is in communion with Christ and/or God Park Kyung-Mis interpretation of John (Ewha Womens University)

I. Specific Context. Korea and globalization as an economic and cultural phenomenon Problem: globalization tears down economic walls that separated nations (good!) BUT a formidable challenge for humanity as a whole as well as for individuals as it deeply affects peoples vision of life or inner world Root-problem: vision of life Park Kyung-Mis Inter(con)text as she reads John in Korea: Buddhism often tells people that suffering and hardship are in essence a

path to peace and to the ultimate life; peace and life are hidden in such suffering. = To abandon oneself to God is to accept abandoning life. Not so for John; John demands that people rush into the world that refuses them and hates them, and wrestle with this world to reform it. Johns gospel demands that the community be both courageous and proactive in its interaction with the world. Intertext used negatively as resistance literature Park Kyung-Mis Inter(con)text as she reads John in Korea:

For John (read positively with a Buddhist intertext), the oneness between God and human beings is possible only when we free ourselves from all the existing dualistic conflicts (good and evil, man and woman, and you and I); transcend self-centeredness. BUT John readily sees the flower of the resurrected life blooming on the cross, the frame of death. This perspective enables us to be truly loyal to life, to obey its order to go on living ( =life =order to live). When one accepts this order, all individual fears, dreads, and pains become secondary. Being in touch with God in this way requires that we ( =life) live on against all odds. = NEW VISION for dispirited Christian in Globalized

Christians Matthew and Paul Classical Models of Interpretations of Scriptures COVENANT (Exodus 19 and 20) as Hermeneutical/Theological Frame Election (as the Chosen People of God) = Gods freeing the People from bondage Vocation (to be a people of priests = Sanctification of the Name) Law = Way to walk How to fulfill

this vocation (to sanctify the Name) Early Rabbinic/Pharisees: Covenant Covenant: 1) Gods intervention, redemption from slavery = election;= haggadah (past) 2) Vocation: people of priest for the nations; haggadah = sanctification of the Name 3) Law = how to walk: halakah Early Rabbinic/Pharisees:

School: Halakah Sanctification of the Name Oral Torah = living tradition= harmonize Torah and life Gezeroth = teaching independent from Scripture Takkanoth = teaching radically changing the teaching of Torah = Prosbul of Hillel Sanctification of the Name Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Early Rabbinic/Pharisees: School: Halakah Sanctification of the Name

Making a fence around Torah Always changing and growing tradition: Mishnah, Talmud; reinterpreted in terms of the new situations in life; Here Revelation, Scripture = open; on going; discerning what is Gods will = how to sanctify the name today Being faithful = adapting, changing Exodus 19:3-6 3 "Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the Israelites: 4 You have

seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself. 5 Now therefore, if you obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession out of all the peoples. Indeed, the whole earth is mine, 6 but you shall be for me a priestly kingdom and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the Israelites." Exodus 20:1-4 1 Then God spoke all these words: 2 I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; 3 you shall have no other gods before me. 4 You shall

not make for yourself an idol, Pharisees and Apocalyptic Models See Early Jewish Hermeneutics in Palestine Pharisees = One Covenant Election: complete = everything has been revealed on Mount Sinai (Oral and Written Torah) Apocalyptic = New Covenant (people still in bondage)

Election: God is electing, choosing a remnant/a new faithful people = new interventions of God Typology; Prophecy are fulfilled Haggadah: Closed sacred history; Liturgy; interpreting Scripture by Scripture (Midrash) Halakah: needs to be reinterpreted again and again (Mishnah, Talmud, constantly

interpreted in terms of social, cultural situation) Haggadah = Open sacred history, ongoing activity of God , establishing and reestablishing the covenant through choosing/calling a new people, through interventions of power Halakah = Very strict; AS BY PRIEST IN THE TEMPLE Deadly Letter of Scripture and Life Giving Spirit of Scripture

2 Corinthians 3:6-7 [Paul and others are] ministers of a new covenant, not of letter but of spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. Now if the ministry of death, chiseled in letters on stone tablets 3:14-17 But their minds were hardened. Indeed, to this very day, when they hear the reading of the old covenant, that same veil is still there, since only in Christ is it set aside. 15 Indeed, to this very day whenever Moses is read, a veil lies over their minds; 16 but when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. Formula Quotation: fulfilling prophecy:

Jesus = the child who was sign of liberation Matthew 1:22-23 All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 23 "Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel," which means, "God is with us." = Isaiah 7:14 Isaiah 7:14 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel. 16 For before the child knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land before whose two kings you are in dread will be deserted. 17 The LORD will bring on you and on your people and on your ancestral house

Formula quotation; Fulfilling Unknown Prophecy Matthew 2:23 There he made his home in a town called Nazareth, so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, "He will be called a Nazorean." Formula quotation: Jesus Fulfills the Type David and Abraham Matthew 1:1 1:1 An account of

the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Etc. etc. = Jesus Fulfills the Types, David, Abraham, etc. etc. = in Jesus the types of scripture are fulfilled Formula quotation: Jesus fulfills the Type Israel Matthew 2:14-15 Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, 15 and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, "Out of

Egypt I have called my son." Hosea 11:1 When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. Formula quotation: Jesus fulfills the Type Israel Matthew 4:1-2 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2 He fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished. Jesus: Fulfilling the Type Moses

Matthew 5:1-2 When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. 2 Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying: Sermon on the Mount = New Law 18:20 = Jesus = Torah = Presence of God For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them." Everything has been revealed in Jesus 28:20 teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age." Christian Haggadah

Sacred History = re-opened (as in Apocalyptic) = new covenant in Jesus = New Moses Jesus = New Israel Jesus = new liberation from oppression Commission of disciples: Matthew 28:18-20 Sacred History = closed again = everything is revealed in Jesus Being disciples = following Jesus, reentering the story, imitating Jesus, teaching what he taught them Matthew 28:18-20

And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age." 18

Jesus as Fulfilling all righteousness = Halakah Matthew 3:13-15 Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. 14 John would have prevented him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" 15 But Jesus answered him, "Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness." Then he consented. Matthew 4:3-4 The tempter came and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread." 4 But he answered, "It is written, 'One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"

Jesus as Fulfilling all righteousness = New Halakah Matthew 5:17-18 Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets; I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Matthew 5:21-22 "You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, 'You shall not murder'; and 'whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.' 22 But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, Jesus as Fulfilling all

righteousness = New Halakah Matthew 5:38-39 38 "You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.' [Ex 21:24] 39 But I say to you, Do not resist an evildoer. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other also; Matthew 5:43-44 43 "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' [Lev 19:18] 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

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