By Werner G. Jeanrond

A accomplished advent to the heritage and importance of hermeneutical pondering in theology. Discusses textual content interpretation all through heritage and the importance of textual content linguistics in a contemporary and postmodern context.

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The literal-historical sense] of the biblical text. 58 According to Semler, the following two rules are essential for a critical interpretation theory. (1) The interpreter of the Bible must be aware of the historical distance between him and the texts of the Bible. (2) Biblical hermeneutics must respect the universal rules of text-interpretation, but must also attend to the specific nature and content of these texts. This second demand, however, did not mean that Semler agreed with those theologians who claimed a spiritual prerogative for their text-interpretation.

The Scriptures provided the only foundation for a continuous systematic reconsideration of the Christian faith, but they were not a quarry to be exploited by people with an intention of organising a lasting doctrinal system. However, this originally Protestant commitment to critical interpretation was soon to be qualified or abandoned altogether. 6 Hermeneutics in Roman Catholic and Protestant Orthodoxy In response to the theological programme of the Protestant Reformation the Roman Catholic theologians assembled at the Council of Trent (1545-1563) confirmed the two-source theory according to which both the Bible and the Christian Tradition together provide the sources for authentic Christian faith and theology.

Because of the conventional nature of all linguistic signs it is imperative for the biblical reader to be familiar with the particular linguistic conventions in which the biblical texts were produced. Hence, Augustine demands the knowledge of both Hebrew and Greek from any serious interpreter of the Bible. Usually difficulties and possible misunderstandings which may arise in interpretation are connected with two problematic features in texts: (1) Signs may have a direct reference or they may function figuratively; and (2) signs may be unknown or appear ambiguous to the interpreter.

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