No single meaning

Quote from Walter Brueggemann, “Divine Presence Amid Violence. Contextualizing the Book of Joshua”, p. ix:

“The conviction that Scripture is revelatory literature is a constant, abiding conviction among the communities of Jews and Christians that gather around the book. But that conviction, constant and abiding as it is, is problematic and open to a variety of alternative and often contradictory or ambiguous meanings. Clearly that conviction is appropriated differently in various contexts and various cultural settings. Current attention to hermeneutics convinces many of us that there is no single, sure meaning for any text. The revelatory power of the text is discerned and given precisely through the action of interpretation which is always concrete, never universal, always contextualized, never ‘above the fray’, always filtered through vested interest, never in disinterested purity.”

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2 thoughts on “No single meaning

  1. Indeed. At the same time I realise how difficult it is for many Christians to engage the Bible in this manner. There seems to be an obsession with finding that one truth that a particular passage attempts to communicate. Often however, it isn’t with the purpose of changing one’s own life, but challenging OTHER people’s lives. This is where legalism comes from…

    This is also why I am against fundamentalism. It attempts to capture that single meaning and push it on unsuspected Christians, oppressing them when they do not agree with it. Instead of letting the Bible speak afresh to people, fundamentalists make people dependent on THEIR interpretation, which becomes even more authoritative than the Bible itself. Funny that!

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