The Problem of Reading the Bible


“Nor, sad to say, can more and better exegesis bring us all the way to a solution. Indeed, careful exegesis heightens our awareness of the ideological diversity within Scripture and of our historical distance from the original communities (in ancient Israel and the earliest churches) to whom these text were addressed. In other words, critical exegesis exacerbates the hermeneutical problem rather than solving it. That is why seminary students sometimes come away from Bible courses puzzled and alienated. As Oliver O’Donovan once remarked, interpreters who think that they can determine the proper ethical application of the Bible solely through more sophisticated exegesis are like people who believe that they can fly if only they flap their arms hard enough.” –Richard Hayes, Moral Vision of the New Testament


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