Right or Wrong?
David John Marotta asks Paul J. Bodin:
>do you think it is a right or wrong [hermeneutic] methodology?
>Or are several contradictory methodologies all acceptible? Is
>there such a thing as a wrong methodology? If so, then by what
>criterion would you judge methodologies?
In this regard, I recommend Richard Hayes, _Echoes of Scripture in
The Letters of Paul_ (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989).
Whether one agrees with him or not, he states the issue quite pointedly:
There is no possibility of accepting Paul's message while
simultaneously rejecting the legitimacy of the scriptural
interpretation that sustains it. If Paul's way of reading the
testimony of the Law and the Prophets is wrong, then his gospel
does constitute a betrayal of Israel and Israel's God, and his
hermeneutic can only lead us astray. If, on the other hand, his
material claims are in any sense true, then we must go back and
learn from him how to read Scripture. (p. 182)
Personally, I find this both a challenging and problematic statement.
By "interpretive methodology" Hayes seems to mean something like
"hermeneutical perspective" rather than "mechanical technique." I
think more precision is needed here, in defining "interpretive
For the present discussion, I find it unsatisfactory to place current
hermeneutical practices beside ancient Mediterranean practices and
to judge the ancient practices as inferior or "wrong."
Gary D. Collier