Hermeneutics and “the Near”

Concerning interpreters’ obligation to look beyond themselves, Hans-Georg Gadamer observes the following:

We are always affected, in hope and fear, by what is nearest to us, and hence we approach the testimony of the past under its influence. Thus it is constantly necessary to guard against overhastily assimilating the past to our own expectations of meaning. Only then can we listen to tradition in a way that permits it to make its own meaning heard (Gadamer 304).

Thus, Gadamer advises interpreters always to seek to put themselves into the position of the other person(s) whom these interpreters wish to understand. For, by so doing, interpreters may begin, albeit imperfectly, to look beyond themselves “not in order to look away from [what is near] but to see it better, within a larger whole and in truer proportion” (Gadamer 304).


In this post:

Hans Georg Gadamer
Hans Georg Gadamer

Paradigms and Communities

In Thomas Kuhn’s analysis, new paradigms attract adherents from older alternatives by producing sufficiently unprecedented achievements, but these new paradigms still leave work to be done because of the new problems that they create or the new issues they suggest (Kuhn 10, 17–18, 80). Yet, the community that accepts a given paradigm implicitly judges the problems that the paradigm introduces to be less severe than those that it resolves (Kuhn 23).

Paradigms define specific, scientific communities, and young scientists gain entrance into a mature scientific community by learning to operate within that community’s paradigm (Kuhn 10–11). Conversely, those who refuse to accept a paradigm in ascendancy in a given field may be excluded from that field’s discourse (Kuhn 19, 104). Thus, a paradigm forms its adherents and their work into a relatively cohesive, identifiable tradition of “normal science” within which individuals rarely disagree over their paradigm’s fundamental attributes (Kuhn 11).


In this post:

Thomas Kuhn
Thomas Kuhn

Discoveries in the Judaean Desert, Volume 32

Oxford University PressDiscoveries in the Judaean Desert (DJD), volume 32, has two codices. According to Oxford University Press:

Description
DJD XXXII presents the first full critical edition of the Great Isaiah Scroll (1QIsaa) and the Hebrew University Isaiah Scroll (1QIsab) in the style of the Discoveries in the Judaean Desert series. That is, whereas the photographs and transcriptions have been available since the 1950s, this volume provides a fresh transcription of all the known fragments, notes clarifying readings that are problematic either physically or palaeographically, and the first comprehensive catalogue of the textual variants.

Part 1 contains the photographic plates (1QIsaa in colour) with the transcriptions on facing pages for easy comparison. Part 2 contains the introduction, notes, and the catalogue of variants; the introduction narrates the discovery, purchase, and early publication of these two manuscripts, which are part of the earliest discoveries and among the most significant biblical scrolls.

Features

  • The final volume to publish in the prestigious Discoveries in the Judaean Desert series, bringing the collection of forty volumes to completion.
  • The Isaiah scrolls of Qumran Cave 1 are crucial to a range of disciplines; Jewish Studies, Biblical Studies, Early Christian Studies, and Ancient History.
  • Arranged in a two part set to allow the reader to simultaneously consult the photographic plates, transcriptions and corresponding notes and textual variants.
  • Presents the 1QIsaa scroll in full colour plates and the 1QIsab in full page black and white plates with facing page transcriptions.
  • The general introduction includes information on the history and discovery of the scrolls and the photographic methods used in capturing the plates.
  • The scroll introductions include detailed discussion of the physical description, palaeography and dating, scribes, grammatical profiling, othography and textual character of the manuscripts.

RBL Newsletter (October 4, 2009)

The latest reviews from the Review of Biblical Literature include the following:

New Testament and Cognate Studies

Other Fields

Kuhn and Popper

Thomas Kuhn acknowledges that Sir Karl Popper’s work earlier in the twentieth century somewhat anticipated his own view of science (Kuhn, Essential Tension 267). Nevertheless, Kuhn also identifies two meaningful distinctions that his work has vis-à-vis Popper’s (Worrall 66–71). First, Kuhn perceives favorably deep commitments to normal scientific traditions because these traditions (1) encourage substantive study of very specific issues and (2) prepare the way for scientific revolutions (Kuhn, Essential Tension 268; cf. Kuhn, Scientific Revolutions 28, 65). Second, Kuhn prefers to consider paradigmatic revolutions in terms of a process of competition rather than falsification as the newly accepted paradigm may itself also eventually be replaced (Kuhn, Essential Tension 268; Kuhn, Scientific Revolutions 2, 8, 12, 151–52).


In this post:

Thomas Kuhn
Thomas Kuhn
Thomas Kuhn
Thomas Kuhn
Thomas Nickles
Thomas Nickles

New Reference Works from OUP

The following two reference works are recently published or forthcoming from Oxford University Press, albeit with rather hefty, retail price tags:

Roger Bagnall
Roger Bagnall
Publisher’s Summary: Thousands of texts, written over a period of three thousand years on papyri and potsherds, in Egyptian, Greek, Latin, Aramaic, Hebrew, Persian, and other languages, have transformed our knowledge of many aspects of life in the ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern worlds. The Oxford Handbook of Papyrology provides an introduction to the world of these ancient documents and literary texts, ranging from the raw materials of writing to the languages used, from the history of papyrology to its future, and from practical help in reading papyri to frank opinions about the nature of the work of papyrologists. This volume, the first major reference work on papyrology written in English, takes account of the important changes experienced by the discipline within especially the last thirty years.
Including new work by twenty-seven international experts and more than one hundred illustrations, The Oxford Handbook of Papyrology will serve as an invaluable guide to the subject.
Michael Gagarin
Michael Gagarin
Publisher’s Summary: The Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome is the clearest and most accessible guide to the world of classical antiquity ever produced. This multivolume reference work is a comprehensive overview of the major cultures of the classical Mediterranean world—Greek, Hellenistic, and Roman—from the Bronze Age to the fifth century CE. It also covers the legacy of the classical world and its interpretation and influence in subsequent centuries. The Encyclopedia brings the work of the best classical scholars, archaeologists, and historians together in an easy-to-use format.
The articles, written by leading scholars in the field, seek to convey the significance of the people, places, and historical events of classical antiquity, together with its intellectual and material culture. Broad overviews of literature, history, archaeology, art, philosophy, science, and religion are complimented by articles on authors and their works, literary genres and periods, historical figures and events, archaeologists and archaeological sites, artists and artistic themes and materials, philosophers and philosophical schools, scientists and scientific areas, gods, heroes, and myths.

Ecclesia Reformanda 1.2

The second issue of Ecclesia Reformanda is almost finished. This issue includes:

“‘And Their Children After Them’: A Response to Reformed Baptist Readings of Jeremiah’s New Covenant Promises,” by Neil G. T. Jeffers

Journal’s Abstract: The promise of the New Covenant in Jeremiah 31:31-34 is a key text in the infant baptism debate. For Baptists, it describes the discontinuity between Old and New Covenants, highlighting in particular the individual, unbreakable, more subjective nature of the new. While paedobaptists often respond defensively, Jeremiah 32:37-41, where this promise is echoed with the important addition ‘for their own good and the good of their children after them’, suggests the Old Covenant principle of family solidarity may remain in place. This article re-examines the Baptist argument, and suggests closer exegesis shows that even Jeremiah 31 still includes children in the New Covenant.

“An Intertextual Analysis of Romans 2:1–16,” by Paul White

Journal’s Abstract: We contend that Paul consciously alludes to Deut. 9-10; 29-30 and to Jer. 31:30-34 in Rom. 2:1-16. These allusions shape and inform Paul’s discourse and, therefore, provide a new approach to old exegetical questions, such as, the rhetorical nature of vv. 6-11 and whether vv. 13-16 refer to ‘Gentile Christians’. On the basis of our intertextual approach we assert that: (1) Romans 2 is essentially covenantal in concern, (2) vv. 6-11 are not hypothetical, and (3) vv. 13-16 refer to ‘Gentile Christians’.

“What the Bible Says, God Says: B. B. Warfield’s Doctrine of Scripture,” by Marc Lloyd

Journal’s Abstract: B. B. Warfield’s writings continue to provide a highly influential Reformed Evangelical doctrine of Scripture that is faithful to the historic Christian view of the Bible. Warfield seeks to present the Bible’s own doctrine of Scripture. His conviction that what the Bible says, God says is grounded on the plenary verbal inspiration of Scripture which guarantees its inerrancy. Particular consideration is given to the mode of inspiration and the humanity of the Bible. Following the Westminster divines, Warfield argues for the necessity, clarity, sufficiency, preservation and translation of Scripture. The Bible mediates relationship with Christ and is God speaking to the believer.

“Trinitarian Telos: Tracing Some Theological Links from God’s Triunity to Christian Eschatology,” by David Batchelor

Journal’s Abstract: Drawing on the work of Peter Leithart and Robert Jenson, this article demonstrates that Christian eschatology is inescapably founded on the doctrine of God’s triunity. The basis for many of the ‘systems’ used by Christian eschatology is found antecedently within the triunity of God’s being. The divine activity within the economy by which creation is being directed towards its glorious climax is trinitarian at every turn, as is the shape of God’s ultimate end-goal for creation – permanently differentiated (triune and human) persons united in love within the Totus Christus, by which the saints participate in the triune Life.

Book Reviews

HT: Ros Clarke

Burnett Streeter and Proto-Luke

In his Four Gospels, Burnett Streeter articulates his view of the sources of Luke and proto-Luke as follows:

The hypothesis I propose in no way conflicts with the generally accepted view that Matthew and Luke are ultimately dependent not only on Mark but on Q—meaning by Q a single written source. Most, if not all, of the agreements of Matthew and Luke, where Mark is absent, are, I think, to be referred to Q; but I desire to interpolate a stage between Q and the editor of the Third Gospel. I conceive that what this editor had before him was, not Q in its original form—which, I hold, included hardly any narrative and no account of the Passion—but Q+L, that is, Q embodied in a larger document, a kind of “Gospel” in fact, which I will call Proto-Luke. This Proto-Luke would have been slightly longer than Mark, and about one-third of its total contents consisted of materials derived from Q (Streeter 208).

Click here for a diagram of Streeter’s understanding of the synoptics’ sources. For an online version of the Four Gospels with sectional pagination, see κατα~Π (1924 ed.).


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Burnett Streeter
Burnett Streeter