Strange though it might seem, the subtitle of God, Sky & Land: Genesis 1 as the Ancient Hebrews Heard It by Brian Bull and Fritz Guy, which we have been discussing, brings to my mind something that Ellen White and her literary assistants included in Chapter 1 of Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing.
Her invitation is this:
Imagination - Scene - Disciples - Mountainside - Enter
Let us in imagination go back to that scene, and, as we sit with the disciples on the mountainside, enter into the thoughts and feelings that filled their hearts. Understanding what the words of Jesus meant to those who heard them, we may discern in them a new vividness and beauty, and may also gather for ourselves their deeper lessons.”
Both of these clearly indicate a difference between what a passage of Scripture once meant and now means. Although Bull and Guy are discussing something in the Old Testament and she was commenting on something in the New, their message is the same. It is that, no matter how "plainly" we read the text, there is always a difference between its time and place and ours. We should pay attention to this difference. If we ignore or deny it, we cause ourselves much needless perplexity and pain.
Jon - Paulien - Dean - School - Religion
This requires us to engage in what Jon Paulien, who is the Dean of the School of Religion at Loma Linda University Health, calls "double exegesis." On the one hand, we need to study the worlds of the ancient texts as well as their words. On the other hand, we need to study our own words and worlds.
As Fritz Guy indicated last Sabbath, the area which these different spheres would share in a Venn Diagram, is where fruitful interpretation occurs. What the text "now means" can be discerned only when we use our own creativity where these very different...
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