RE: [Allison-Seminar] Hermeneutical Questions
- At 10:47 AM 4/1/2003 -0500, Dale Allison wrote, among other things:
the gospels expand the meaning of sayings; they seem to suppose that things said to Jesus' coworkers should somehow apply to everyone who believes in Jesus. This is the natural direction of the tradition. The writers imply that we should all be able to get something out of whatever Jesus said. I have no problem with this. Think about the warnings to scribes and Pharisees: these have always communicated something to people who aren't scribes and Pharisees. It's the same with everything else. The original people are all dead. If Jesus speaks, he can't be speaking to his original audience anymore! Everything then must be reinterpretation and reapplication. Ultimately then I think we are, if we want to make use of the gospels, looking for the fundamental impulses--love of God, service of neighbor including enemy, committment to the point of real self-sacrifice, etc.
v. There is a contemporary hermeneutical problem. I agree completely with you, and said plainly, that
Again thanks for your thoughtful responses. The segment above is a case in point. But it certainly raises for me the issue of cultural relativism: are there really any "fundamental impulses" that transcend all cultures? In what sense are the "fundamental impulses" you identify really fundamental? Because we wish it so, or because of some cosmic Truth, or what?
This of course is an essential question. Was Jesus *only* a first century Jew? Or in what senses is he still relevant today?
I'm not trying to be cute, here, because I think he *is* relevant today. But how we handle the issue of transcendant messaging is important in this regard.
Bob SchachtRobert M. Schacht, Ph.D.Northern Arizona UniversityFlagstaff, AZ