The Politics of Biblical Interpretation, Scott Hahn

With thanks to Jim West for point this out.

Indeed, modern biblical interpretation is political. Often times, interpretations are not geared to strengthening the person or the congregation by getting to the meaning of the text, but to lessening the authority of the bible in the minds of the hearers by supplanting the meaning of the text with a flair for the modern.

I am currently reading Seth Sander’s book, The Invention of Hebrew (review later), and it strikes me first that the beginning purpose of modern biblical studies was first to undermine the authority of the bible as a book in which to craft a society and second by doing so,  to undermine the authority of kings. Many should note just how political the Hebrew bible really is, and Sanders makes a good case for this view. I am not speaking about Left or Right, but just what a text meant and accomplished when it, which unlike all others in antiquity, spoke to the people directly. The biblical texts had authority and power behind the person speaking it or writing it – it had authority because it, in its dried ink on animal skin, crafted a people and their perception of the Divine and of themselves which has shaped our world, for better or worse.

Hear O Israel.

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