Interpretation

So, yesterday, during our Bible study on the Dead Sea Scrolls, we were introduced to the concept of the Pesherim who sought to determine the significance of an already existing prophetic text by pointing to its fulfillment in persons and events belonging to the age of the interpreter. This is as opposed to the normal exegetical techniques that take historical context into account. It seemed rather a convenient method of interpretation, and then this week’s Gospel Luke 4:14-21 comes up and essentially has Christ doing the same thing.

This would then open the door to justify, for instance, a Baha’i interpretation of Christian writings in the late 1800s, pointing to those prophecies *not* fulfilled by Christ, but claiming they are now fulfilled by Baha’u’llah. It would also explain the reinterpretation, or differences in opinion with regard to, for instance, some of the differences between the Christian sects.

I do realize that Barbara Thiering seems to be the one who applies the Pesher technique to more than just the scrolls discovered within the cave, and specifically the book of Habakkuk.  Can a text only have meaning based on the interpreter’s decisions?  Or is there one specific meaning?  What is God’s meaning, particularly in light of Christ’s re-interpretation of Isaiah as being fulfilled in Himself?

Interesting concept – Hebrew poetry often goes from the generic to the specific.  What if that is applied to interpretation of scripture over time, since the habit seems to have initially been developed by the rabbis in developing the Talmud.

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Plans: Shall we watch God laugh?

So apparently I haven’t actually written out my goals in the last few years (something I am rather amazed at, given my penchant for setting goals and providing myself accountability).  The title of this post, however, may have something to do with it.  In any case, I’m planning, setting goals, and trying to separate out my Church goals from my personal goals, even though they really intertwine an awful lot at this point.

Reasonable Goals for the Year:

  1. Use Lent for stating positive affirmations, four times a day, that God will provide a way for me to grow my garden, both in loaning me His (or Richard’s, or dad’s) green thumb, and in the resources to get it accomplished.
  2. Actually grow said garden.  Now of course, growing a garden is not just growing a garden – it’s all of the canning, freezing and otherwise preserving the produce for using the rest of the year.  This would include those things I can’t grow (due to time constraints) like fruits that grow on trees I don’t have – by either finding a place to pick them or getting them from Bountiful Baskets or a farmers’ market.
  3. Write – which does not include sermons or researching for said writing – at least 4 hours a month on a non-church topic.  This can include the herbal medicine book, a romance novel, a what-if/alternative history novel or whatever might catch my fancy.
  4. Finish going through at least two books with best friend and working through exercises.

I do realize that this is a short list, but I try to only set two “actual” goals a year that are non-church related.  My church goals this year include:

  1. Setting up a healing ministry with a once a week meeting and at least once a month healing service separate from other services.
  2. Organize a Suicide Prevention workshop with Mary-Alice and Jim as presenters.
  3. Schedule Prayer in the Park each Saturday morning May through August.
  4. Create ad campaign for the church that will be most effective.
  5. Hold four Quiet Days throughout the year.
  6. Research and hold a candle-making workshop, preferably May or September.
  7. Come up with a useful workshop centered around herbal medicine or cooking.
  8. Finish the Psalm 119 project.
  9. Find someone across Montana to partner with and create a project that joins the two congregations.

There’s also still another event that I’ll be presenting at, but it’s not on my goal list – that of presenting herbal medicine at the Hildegard Workshop in February.

There’s my plans.  Let’s see what God does with them. 🙂