Saturday, December 13, 2014

Speech Act and Hermeneutics, some thoughts

From Kevin Vanhoozer's First Theology

He has some good responses to high-church readings of Scripture and tradition: "I see no reason that cognitive malfunction could not be corporate as well as individual" (223). He notes the Anabaptist claim to "read in community" is not that materially different from the Romanist/EO claim that the Church reads the Bible.

This claim to “self-referentiality is artificial; it disconnects the text from the extratextual world and from the process of reading…[quoting Francis Watson] To regard the church as a self-sufficient sphere closed of from the world is ecclesiological docetism” (Vanhoozer 216).

Indeed, such a position reduces to “interpretive might makes right. One may very well question the grounds of such optimism: the believing community in Scripture is too often portraryed as unbelieving or confused, and subsequent church history has not been reassurring either” (219)

And Vanhoozer asks the most painful and unanswerable of questions: how can we guard against the possible misuse of Scripture? If we have to read the Bible with the church, we have to posit the corollary: the church’s interpretation is what counts. But what are the criteria so we know the church interpreted it correctly? The Holy Spirit will guide it. Well, what about Heira? That doesn’t count.

It’s kind of like the definition of pornography: I’ll know it when I see it.

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