Oct 26 2015

Music and Hermeneutics


By James B. Jordan, at Theopolis Institute.

From time to time, when I’ve lectured on how to read the Bible, I’ve used art-music as one example thereof. When we listen to a simple folk song, we hear the same melody over and over again, but this is not how composers write “high” music. Let me amplify.

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Aug 22 2015

Apologia on Reading the Bible

What does it mean to read the Bible as inspired literature?

James Jordan-Theopolis-0815-Sby James B. Jordan – PART 1

What does it mean to read the Bible as inspired literature? The method is not new nor is it uncommon in Dutch Reformed circles. Exegesis must be Christocentric, plenary (all the text serves a theological purpose), respect the context in God’s redemptive plan, and plumb the full literary depth of the writing.

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Dec 22 2014

Offensive Words of Grace


The Folks of Nazareth: Bi-Polar or Nah?

by Daniel Hoffmann

Jesus’ first recorded public engagement in the Gospel of Luke comes in 4:16-29, where he speaks in the synagogue of Nazareth, his hometown. Go ahead and read it; I’ll wait. If you read the account in the English Standard Version, it sounds as the though the people of the synagogue do a complete 180° in their attitude toward Jesus: from hearing him enthusiastically, to wanting to kill him. Is that what really happened?

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Feb 14 2014

Tomboys and Totems

Then they will say to the mountains, “Fall on us!”
and to the hills, “Cover us!” (Luke 23:30)

What we see
and what we seem
are but a dream…
a dream within a dream.

These lines by Edgar Allan Poe, slightly reshaped, are the first spoken words in the classic Australian film, Peter Weir’s Picnic At Hanging Rock (1975). Based on a novel by the enigmatic Joan Lindsay, it is an experience that clings to you, not merely because it is so carefully and beautifully made, but also because it is a film with secret blades: it is a mystery without a solution, a horror story without savagery, a nightmare in which all the watches stop at noonday.

On Saturday 14th February 1900, a party of schoolgirls from Appleyard College picnicked at Hanging Rock near Mount Macedon in the state of Victoria. During the afternoon several members of the party disappeared without trace…

(Spoilers follow, but feel free to read on…)

[This post has been refined and included in Sweet Counsel: Essays to Brighten the Eyes.]
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Jun 22 2013

Unscientific Is Good

“The reason literature, like art, has no hard-and-fast rules, is because authors and artists confer meaning upon things as they go.”

Recently on the hermeneutics exchange, Monica Cellio (one of the bright lights, whose eyes are like lasers) asked,

Do any principles commonly used in the field of hermeneutics have any counterparts in scientific principles? Is there a corollary in hermeneutics to the requirements that science demands as far as the reproducibility of experiments, peer review of results, etc?

This is a fantastic question, not because it will lead us towards a better understanding of the Bible, but because it exposes the reason why modern academics have such a problem with understanding and teaching the Bible.

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Jun 7 2013

Revelation According to the Rules

A recent lecture by Peter Leithart:
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Apr 20 2013

Q&A: What is Systematic Typology?

or The Killer Hermeneutic

An online acquaintance asked: “There’s a hermeneutical method that’s been used on this site called ‘systematic typology’. What is it? How does one apply it? Are there contexts where it is considered to be a particularly good or particularly bad fit? Where can one go to learn more about it? And where does it come from? (Who developed it, and based on what?)

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Apr 11 2013

Q&A: Against You Only Have I Sinned

“…there is no sacrifice to Bathsheba…”

Jon Ericson asked this question on the Biblical Hermeneutics site:

To what extent is Psalm 51:4 poetic exaggeration?

The context of Psalm 51 is clear:

To the choirmaster. A psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet went to him, after he had gone in to Bathsheba.

These events are described in 2nd Samuel 11–12. In summary, David essentially murdered Uriah the Hittite in order to cover up an affair with Bathsheba, Uriah’s wife. So this verse causes me trouble:
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Mar 27 2013

Hermeneutical Polytheism


“For thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Once more (it is a little while) I will shake heaven and earth, the sea and dry land…”
(Haggai 2:6)

Many modern commentators hamstring various parts of the Bible so they don’t run against the grain of modern scientism and historical revisionism. They do this by “classifying” the bits of Scripture that offend modern theory into neat literary genres. “If Genesis is poetry, it can’t be historical,” and other stupidities. Nice try. Another one is “apocalyptic,” a genre which, to the eye of unbelief, might appear to actually exist.

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Mar 4 2013

Ephesians 1

or the Covenanto-Architecturo-Historico-Grammatico-Muso Method

“A seal is meant to be broken.”

During the first of his recent lectures in London, James Jordan tore a page out of his Bible. It was the page announcing the New Testament as a separate book with its own pagination. It is one thing to interpret the New Testament in the light of contemporary literature and history, but their importance pales in comparison to the texts being recognized as a continuation of the Scriptures.

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