User:RobertC/Biblical criticism

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LDS perspectives[edit]

  • Stephen Robinson. See his entry on Bible scholarship in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism.
  • Philip Barlow. Interview at T&S blog, Part 1 and Part 2. Interesting quote (Q. 6):
"In sum, I would urge a rare recipe: a serious, competent, and non-defensive engagement with critical analysis, whose real object is understanding rather than the barricading of pre-established notions—but all fueled by an awareness that the point of critical study is theological understanding and spiritual edification. Faith seeking understanding. A broad, flexible, resilient, open faith seeking honest understanding of the divine and of the history of human approaches to the divine."
  • 1922 First Presidency Statement. From Mormonism in Transition: A History of the Latter-Day Saints, 1890-1930 by Thomas G. Alexander [University of Illinois Press, 1996], page 282 (as transcribed by Julie M. Smith).
“In October 1922 . . . the First Presidency received a letter from Joseph W. McMurrin asking about the position of the church with regard to the literality of the Bible. Charles W. Penrose, with Anthony W. Ivins, writing for the First Presidency, answered that the position of the church was that the Bible is the word of God as far as it was translated correctly. They pointed out that there were, however, some problems with the Old Testament. The Pentateuch, for instance, was written by Moses, but “it is evident that the five books passed through other hands than Moses’s after his day and time. The closing chapter of Deuteronomy proves that.” While they thought Jonah was a real person, they said it was possible that the story as told in the Bible was a parable common at the time. The purpose was to teach a lesson, and it “is of little significance as to whether Jonah was a real individual or one chosen by the writer of the book” to illustrate “what is set forth therein.” They took a similar position on Job. What is important, Penrose and Ivins insisted, was not whether the books were historically accurate, but whether the doctrines were correct. Nevertheless, higher criticism, they pointed out, was merely scholarly opinion and could say nothing about the doctrinal accuracy of the ideas in the books.” (emphasis added)

Hermeneutics (quotes)[edit]

  • Levina, Emmanuel, "On the Jewish Reading of Scriptures" from Beyond the Verse: Talmudic Readings and Lectures (trans. Gary d. Mole; Indiana University Press, 1994—page numbers are from the reprinted version in The Postmodern Bible Reader). What I like about this essay/chapter is that it captures the way that I think scripture is infinite in its potential. I pet peeve of mine is when exegetes explain this is what the text means. Although I think for LDS hermeneutics there should be an open approach to scriptures because of the emphasis on the spirt, I think in practice it is common to simply look to see if a General Authority has said something about the scripture and to leave that as the final word on the passage. But what Levinas is saying goes much deeper than simply addressing this pet peeve. I also like how he talks similarly to Jim F.'s concept of scripture as incarnation. The Word lives through us. By studying scripture and considering possible meanings, we make the Word come alive. If we live according to the Word then God lives in us.
  • "[T]he characteristic pluralism of rabbinical thought . . . paradoxically aspires to be compatible with the unity of the Revelation: the multiple stances of the scholars would constitute [Scripture's] very life, all of them being the "words of the living God." (p. 320)
  • "[F]or Jewish religious consciousness, commentary of the Scriptures can take on [meaning] as the path towards transcendence." (p. 321)
  • "[T]he [midrashic] statement commented on exceeds what it originally wants to say; that what it is capable of saying goes beyond what it wants to say; that it contains more than it contains; that perhaps an inexhaustible surplus of meaning remains locked in the syntactic structures of the sentence, in it word-groups, its actual words, phonemes and letters, in all this meteriality of the saying which is potentially signifying all the time. Exegesis would come to free, in these signs, a bewitched significance that smoulders beneath the characters or coils up in all this litterature of letters." (p. 326)
  • "[W]hat is signified in the signifier . . . answers only to the mind that solicits it. . . . An act of soliciting which issues from people whose eyes and ears are vigialnt and who are mindful of the whole body of writing from which the extract comes, and equally attuned to life: the city, the street, other men. An act of soliciting which issues from people in their uniqueness, each person capable of extracitng from the signs meanings which each time are inimitable. . . . [T]he very pluraity of people [is] an unavoidable moment of the signification of meaning." (p. 326)
  • "Inspiration: another meaning which breaks through from beneath the immediate meaning of what is meant to be said, another meaning which beckons to a way of hearing that listens beyond what is heard, beckons to extreme consciousness, a consciousness that has been awoken." (p. 327)

Non-LDS Christian perspectives[edit]

Other links[edit]