Monday, November 30, 2009

The Myth of Value-Free Hermeneutics

(In Bangkok)

I'm beginning to read Craig Keener's The Historical Jesus of the Gospels: Jesus in Historical Context. In the Introduction Craig makes some methodological points, such as this one: "no one is free from assumptions, and... the presuppositions of skeptics are no more value-free than those of believers." (xxxi)

I agree. Failure to recognize this is seen in fundamentalist hermeneutics as well as a skeptical fundamentalism that is often a reaction against one's fundamentalist Christian upbringing. The Jesus-skeptic who thinks he is unbiased is hermeneutically just as narrow-minded as the fundamentalist hermeneutic he criticizes. As one who was not discipled in such anachronistic ways I see "value-free" discussions as essentially misguided when it comes to interpretation theory.

I'm looking forward to getting into Craig's Jesus scholarship!