Biblical Hermeneutics

3753 words 16 pages
“Biblical Hermeneutics”

By: Rev. Clint A. Starnes

September 7th, 2013

In its most basic definition, biblical hermeneutics refers to the art and science of biblical interpretation. It is considered an art because understanding, which is required for interpretation, requires a feel for the subject matter being interpreted, not just an analyzation of data. Biblical hermeneutics is also considered a science due to the fact that some aspects of the interpretation process resemble the activities of natural science. Because of this dual nature of hermeneutics, it is almost impossible for an interpreter to arrive at a neutral conclusion. Good or bad, most biblical interpreters translate scripture based upon
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Nicolas of Lyra had a significant impact during this period on the return to a literal interpretation of Scripture. He agreed with the four fold meaning of Scripture developed by Augustine, but gave a preference to the literal meaning of Scripture. His work had a significant impact on Martin Luther, who inspired the reformation period. Reformation exegesis was a period during the 1500's. During this time, most exegetes abandoned the four fold principle of interpreting Scripture in favor of a singular sense. Furthermore, Martin Luther believed that it was impossible to understand Scripture without a genuine faith in Christ and the illumination of the Holy Spirit. He also challenged the modern philosophy of the church that the Scripture should determine what the church teaches, instead of the customs and traditions of the church determining what Scripture teaches. Probably the greatest exegete of the reformation was John Calvin. He agreed with
most of the principles established by Luther but surpassed Luther in aligning his personal practices with his theory. A popular phrase used by Calvin was “Scripture interprets Scripture.” Calvin also stated that an interpreter should “let the author say what he does, instead of attributing to him what we think he ought to say.” The exegetes of the reformation period developed the principles that guided modern protestant hermeneutics. Between 1550 and 1800, three hermeneutical


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