Archives For Short

The study of the literary work should concern not only the actual text but also, and in equal measure, the actions involved in responding to that text.

– Wolfgang Iser, The Act of Reading


Responding to the Text

I think there is some value in this analogy of comparing hermeneutical frameworks to maps. The given reality is the whole text of the Bible itself. No framework can give account of every detail, just as no map can represent every tiny feature of a landscape. But like a map, a hermeneutical framework can provide a way of seeing the whole terrain, a way of navigating one’s way through it, a way of observing what is most significant, a way of approaching the task of actually encountering the reality itself (just as a map tells you what to expect when you are actually in the terrain it portrays).

– Christopher J. H. Wright, The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2006), 69.

Hermeneutical Frameworks as Maps

Authorial intention is to be understood not as some subjective occurrence lying behind the text but as the principle of the text’s intelligibility, as primarily embodied in the words the author wrote.

– Francis Watson, Text and Truth: Redefining Biblical Theology (T&T Clark, Great Britain: 1997) 112, 118.

Authorial Intention

A Word is dead

When it is said

Some say,

I say it just

begins to live

that day

– Emily Dickenson

Words: Dead or Alive

In criticism it is not sufficient to find flaws in a given view. One must always ask, “What is the alternative?” and, “Does the alternative have fewer difficulties?” John Baillie tells of writing a paper in which he severely criticized a particular view. His professor commented, “Every theory has its difficulties, but you have not considered whether any other theory has less difficulties than the one you have criticized.” (p. 61)

– Milliard Erickson, Christian Theology


Don’t Just Find the Flaws

I often tell students that great theologians are most helpful at precisely those points where I disagree with them, for it is there I am forced to wrest most passionately, and there that my own thought is clarified and strengthened.

– Carl Trueman

Great Theologians