21 December 2006

Hermeneutics and Kerygma

Buried within the comments section of the previous post, How to Dialogue with “Liberal” Christians, Stephen Cook of the Biblische Ausbildung blog made the following comment:
Over time, I've given a lot of thought to this topic that you raise. I've come down to thinking in terms of "dangers" that threaten the liberal and "dangers" that threaten the conservative. For the conservative, I believe, the danger is being "anti-hermeneutical." I.e., not realizing that the biblical texts often require sophisticated wrestling in order to yield their truths. You can't be pedestrian in your reading of the Bible! For the liberal, the danger is being "anti-Kerygmatic." I.e., not realizing that the biblical texts bear a powerful witness, Word, Kerygma, and vitality, that transcends the limitations of their human authors. What do you think??
I thought this comment deserved a discussion of its own.

I'll open by saying, as someone raised in a denomination that believes the bible to be verbally inspired, inerrant and infallible (hereafter VIII), that the "anti-hermeneutical" comment resonated a lot with me. I'm not wildly well versed on the academic side of this; I don't know how or if VIII scholars go about developing an anti-hermenutical argument. I DO know that, amongst the people in the pews, there will be a rigourous denial of "interpreting" Scripture, so one is hardly going to get them to admit that they have a process for doing so.

Equally, I also had the experience of studying for a theology BA in the 1970s, and the anti-Kerygmatic approach was rife in academia at the time. I've said - and I believe it's true - that to write a paper indicating that one believed in God would have resulted in a very low grade. By my senior year in university (fourth and last year), I was already thinking that there had to be a better way somewhere in between total disbelief and inerrantism (or at least somewhere a bit more conservative than Tillich and Teillard).

1 comment:

crystal said...

I wish I knew more about this. I think that one can believe the scriptures are all inspired yet not believe they are all true, if that makes any sense. A good example of a combination of respect for scholarship and a reverance for scripture would be the work of Jesuit Felix Just