Written Also for Our Sake

January 26, 2019 - A look at Paul's use of the Old Testament.

While the conclusions of this book are important, what stood out to me was the methodology espoused by the author. The methodological thesis is that interpretation should look like a conversation. To determine what a text means, the text must be viewed as a subject or partner in conversation. The author goes on throughout the book to demonstrate what this means and looks like in practice. This method does have some positive side-effects in that it emphasizes the fact that the text has something to say to us (and something that is compelling and solicits as response), but I do not agree with the model as a full or complete model on the philosophical grounds that Aageson’s methodology undermines the objective nature of the text and replaces it with the subjective. This is most clearly seen when Aageson speaks of the “circle of plausibility” which surrounds a text and bounds the possible meanings thereof. I think this is a helpful principle and I certainly think there is a circle of plausibility within which both meaning and application must be derived, but I depart from Aageson when he speaks positively of the circle of plausibility changing over time. I certainly think the circle of plausibility may change over time, but I don’t think that such changes provide any substantive, real and novel meanings to the text. The “cicle of plausibility” is, in my mind, a fairly static boundary set by the text and the context. To speak of it substantively changing based on the conceptions the reader brings to the text is to subvert the objectivity of the text, as understood in its original context and replace it with a mixture of the original context and the reader’s context and preconceptions. I think such a mixture is dangerous and, in the realm, of scripture, undermines the authority of scripture.

  • Book
  • James W Aageson
  • Hermeneutics
  • Apostle Paul
  • Old Testament
  • Interpretation
  • Inter-textuality
  • Circle of Plausibility
  • Following Christ