Monday, 3 August 2015
How does the Bible do it?
Canon & Community: A Guide to Canonical Criticism,
James A. Sanders, Wipf and Stock, 2000, page 70-71
How does the Bible understand itself? Sanders has an answer:
The hermeneutic techniques and rules most often seen in the Bible are those related to historical typology, in which a story of what G-d had done before was reviewed to gain light as to what G-d might do in the new situation. The aspect of the story reviewed was re-presented, made new again, by reading or reciting it in the new context.
With a similar approach to von Rad's cyclic re-interpretation proposal, Sanders speaks about dynamic analogy:
... representing the tradition, consciously identifying with the character or characters in the tradition most representative of the new hearers or readers. This hermeneutic move presupposes the view that believing communities are essentially pilgrim folk always needing the canonical challenge to move on and take another step on the pilgrimage toward the goal G-d's story or history envisages.
Sanders then shocks us by the way he sees this being done.
Most of all faithful Christians, who are trying to lead obedient lives, should identify in the NT with the good, faithful Pharisees, Sadducees, or Essenes, or indeed with the good responsible Romans, not with Jesus, in order for the dimension of dynamic analogy to bring out the challenge Jesus levels against His fellow religious Jews, as well as the Romans who bore the burden of being a world power.
Kind of obvious, really, isn't it. But do we think like that?