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IB CLE

School Year 2012-2013
29 August 2012

LITERARY INTERPRETATION
1st Principle - GENRES

Interpret a text according to the rules & conventions of its GENRE-or you will misunderstand it!

LITERARY INTERPRETATION
2nd Principle - LAYERS OF MEANINGS Before you look for PERSONAL MEANING, make sure you understand the

more basic
layers of meaning.

LITERARY INTERPRETATION
3rd Principle - CONTEXTS

The wider the context, the richer & fuller the reading!

Which is the Relativist, Absolutist, & Rationalist Reading? Why?

PERSONAL reader’s opinion one’s MEANING based on experiences personal
relativist

TEXT MEANING
relativist

LITERAL MEANING
the words of the text

author’s intentions &/or commentaries from authority

AUTHOR MEANING

absolutist

evidence of meaning in the text as accepted by community of readers
rationalist

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CONTEXTS LAYERS OF MEANING
MEANINGS
AUTHOR MEANING
the Author’s intention (either obtained directly or inferred by AUTHORITY)

CONTEXTS
The World BEHIND the Text The World BEFORE the Text
the interpretations of readers

the historical background

TEXT MEANING
the EVIDENCE of meaning in the text based on interpretations by communities of readers

The World of the READER
the reader’s personal experiences

PERSONAL MEANING
the Reader’s OPINION based on one’s personal experiences & world history

The wider the context, the richer the meaning!

reading the bible as scripture

The Bible as Scripture is to be read AND prayed.

A Pretty Bad Horror Film
(1999)

BIBLICAL authority
Inspiration
The writing of the Bible The compiling of the Bible The reading of the Bible

Canonicity

Inerrancy

Problems, Issues, & Questions

Inspiration
“Word of God” vs. words of men How can we say that the Bible is the Word of God when the authors were obviously human?

Problems, Issues, & Questions

Canonicity
Who compiled the Bible & how? What if we discover new books that should be included?

Problems, Issues, & Questions

Inerrancy
If the Bible is the Word of God, is it perfectly free from error? What about factual, scienti c, & historical mistakes found in the Bible?

Paradox
The Bible is BOTH the Word of God

Key to understanding the Bible as Scripture

AND the words of men.

(INSPIRATION),

The writing

Paradox
BOTH Divine

Key to understanding the Bible as Scripture

the compiling (CANONICITY) & the reading
(INERRANCY)

AND
Human

of the Bible

the Evangelist

St. Matthew

Moses downloads the 10 Commandments

3 3

INSPIRATION
Who wrote the Bible?

QUESTIONS
- What was the writing process? - What was the role of the human authors, if any? - What was God’s role, if any?

VIEWS
- The FUNDAMENTALIST View - The SKEPTICAL View - The CATHOLIC View

INSPIRATION
Dictation or Automatic Writing

PROCESS

Who wrote the Bible?

FUNDAMENTALIST

HUMAN ROLE God wrote the Bible
Minimal & Passive Instrument

actively & exclusively. Every word of it was dictated by God, so that the role of the GOD’s ROLE Active & human author was Exclusive very minimal.

INSPIRATION
PROCESS
Human Creation of Literature Active & Exclusive Who wrote the Bible?

SKEPTICAL
The human authors wrote the Bible just like any literature. Only later was divine authorship claimed. At best, God’s authorship is symbolic.

HUMAN ROLE GOD’s ROLE
Questionable At best, Metaphorical

INSPIRATION
Who wrote the Bible?

PROCESS CATHOLIC Instrumental
Causality

HUMAN ROLE
Active & Creative

Active & Respectful of Human Consciousness

GOD’s ROLE

Both God & the human authors were responsible for writing the Bible. The human authors were active instruments using their world views & culture.

God’s role & the role of the human authors

It’s possible for both God & the human authors to be involved. Not a case of either/or!

NOT mutually exclusive

NOT inversely proportional

Just because God is more active doesn’t mean the human authors are less active--or vice versa!

DIVINELY INSPIRED: God is the originating Author. The human writers are the literary authors. God is involved in the production of the Bible in a unique way. That’s why we say God is the Author, & the Bible is the Word of God.

Inspiration
Fundamentalist Skeptic Catholic al Dictation + Human Instrumental Automatic Creation: PROCESS Causality Writing Literature!

HUMAN ROLE

Minimal + Passive

Active + Exclusive

Active + Creative

GOD’S ROLE

Active + QuestionRespectful able Active + of Human At best, Almost Exclusive Freedom & MetaphorConsciousical ness

Canonicity
Who compiled the Bible?

Didn’t drop from the sky as a complete package or handed down by Christ to His disciples as an entire book.

Canonicity The Bible Who compiled
the Bible?

The Church is the CANONIZER, the institution that declared these 73 books-& ONLY these books--as Scripture.

underwent a historical process.

Canonicity
Who compiled the Bible? “Sola Scriptura!” “Only Scripture!” No Church. No Tradition. No Interpretation. The Bible was compiled by the Church & declared sacred by it.

Canonicity
Who compiled the Bible? HISTORICALLY NAIVE: Forgets that the Church created the Bible.
HERMENEUTICALLY

NAIVE: Forgets that the Bible, like any text, cannot interpret itself.

Canonicity
Who compiled the Bible?

The double role of the Church Canonizer: The Church wrote & compiled the Bible, declaring its books as the Word of God. Inspired Reader: The Church is the intended reader of the Bible & its most authoritative interpreter.

Inerrancy
How do we read the Bible?

If Scripture is the Word of God, then it must be perfectly correct & free from error. But what about the proven errors in the Bible?

Inerrancy
How do we read the Bible?

For example: 6 days of creation vs. centuries of evolution Inerrancy does not refer to historical, scientific, or factual correctness. Inerrancy pertains to truths about God and truths we need for salvation.

The role of Faith

How do we read For an intelligent reader, & pray with the the Bible is just literature-Bible? or even great literature,
but that’s all. It’s not God’s revelation.

The Bible becomes the Word of God only if read with faith. Without faith, it is only revelatory, not yet revelation.

The role of Faith
How do we read & pray with the Bible?

Scripture is not for information, but for experience.
Use the imagination to be part of the story. To let the story involve & affect you.

The role of Faith
How do we pray with the Bible?

Not a source of answers, but a source of questions. Not a source of evidence, but is authority.

The role of Faith
How do we pray with the Bible?

The Bible is the

Bible as Literature
text

Bible as Scripture
context text
of my life

The Bible is the that I need to interpret the

that I interpret using the of my life

context