Friday, March 3, 2017

Critical biblical interpretation

Yung Suk Kim

Overall, the purpose of biblical studies is to raise critical awareness of biblical texts and help students to engage them critically and faithfully.

The Bible did not fall from the sky, and therefore, we must examine it in its social, historical contexts. This does not mean that there is a single meaning or a single approach. The bottom line is that any reading that ignores the historical context is a naive interpretation.

In addition, biblical texts are literary, theological products that have a role to play in religious communities. We have to see faith struggles and transformative experiences of biblical communities.

Also, we must recognize and celebrate the diverse ways of reading the text. Texts inspire readers to do new things and challenge them to do things differently. But at the same time, we must be careful that nothing in the text is taken for granted. We should be able to name oppressive or abusive texts. At other times, we need to unlearn what we know. Sometimes, the problem is we know too much about the Bible.

Therefore, readers need critical, self-critical, and faithful stance toward biblical texts. They must know where they are from and what they are up to. They should also take responsibility for their interpretation.

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