Re: historically informed interpretation (way too longish?)

Eric Weiss (
Fri, 20 Dec 1996 22:00:21 -0600

Another not-quite-so-new book I skimmed through at the Dallas
Theological Seminary bookstore (Zuck is a DTS prof, I believe) called
BEYOND THE OBVIOUS calls into question the evangelical hermeneutic that
limits a text to one meaning (e.g., the historical, grammatical,
sociological context), saying we must allow the Holy Spirit to give
meaning and interpretation perhaps beyond or different from the original
author's intent or understanding. 1 Peter 1:10-11 seems to support this.
So does Luke 24:44-45. Paul's allegory of Hagar, etc., in Galatians
seems to go beyond the author's meaning as understood prior to when Paul
wrote what he did. Jesus' comments on the message from the burning bush
whereby he confounded the Sadducees on the issue of the resurrection is
presented as if he was giving a different meaning than what the
religious leaders had previously determined the passage meant.

Going from b-hermeneutics to b-greek: Knowing Greek (I'm still just a
"little Greek") helps me know whether my possible interpretations are
legitimate interpretations of the Greek (something a person who doesn't
know Greek can't do). There have been times where I've thought I've seen
or sensed a different meaning to the text than the commentaries and
translations I've consulted give (though more often it's allowed me to
better understand the commentaries and translations rather than to
disagree with them). Sometimes I think it's an "insight" from the Holy
Spirit; other times I think it's just a mental discernment of the
author's meaning, even if in my limited search I haven't found anyone
else who quite saw it or translated it that way. I'm not willing to
limit the meaning of a verse or passage to what other men and women have
determined - either by their study or their doctrine of scripture or a
combination of these or other factors - that it must mean.

"Eric S. Weiss"