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.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s