But I didn't want my tardy schedule to impact your chance to read my friend Leroy Huizenga's amazing piece over at First Things, if you haven't already seen it today:
At Wheaton College I taught “Biblical Interpretation and Hermeneutics” to exceptionally bright, motivated and faithful students. I approached the course from the perspective of the history of interpretation, for, with Peter of Blois, I was convinced that we stand like dwarfs on the shoulders of giants, that premodern interpreters had much to say to us moderns who struggle to approach the Bible as Scripture instead of a random collection of textual artifacts. Desiring to rescue the works of the ancients from time’s oblivion and man’s neglect, each semester we sojourned through twenty-five hundred years of interpretation.
In the class we wrestled with premodern interpreters whose approach was supposedly different from our own. The radical ways New Testament writers appropriate Old Testament material proved especially challenging; the nervous joke was that Paul, or Matthew, or even Jesus himself would fail our class. For instance, St. Matthew quotes Hosea 11:1 (“Out of Egypt I have called my son”) right after the Holy Family’s escape from Israel to Egypt to portray a reverse exodus inverting Egypt, now the promised land of refuge, and Israel, now the house of bondage.
St. Luke tells of two disciples encountering the Risen Christ on Emmaus Road to show that the Old Testament is rightly read through the lens of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, who “interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself” (24:27). Further, St. Luke then illustrates that the Risen Christ is known precisely in the Eucharist, a datum thus deemed necessary for sound interpretation: “When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight.” The Christ who is the key to the Scriptures is ever present in the bread and wine.
The textbook example of hermeneutical jujitsu, however, is Paul’s brazen tour de force in Galatians 4:21-31, in which he states that the Hagar and Sarah are allegories (allegoroumena), the former pointing to the slavery of the Judaizers of the earthly Jerusalem and the latter pointing to the freedom of the heavenly Jerusalem. Perhaps that might fly in homiletics, but not in serious exegesis. If one were to hand out grades, it would be F’s all around.
Read the whole thing here!