Monday, April 22, 2013

Characteristics of a Hermeneutical Community - An Introduction; In the series: GEMEINDETHEOLOGIE: Who & How?

Ens, looking at the Anabaptists' view of a hermeneutical community, posits that their understanding of the Bible resulted in its practical application in life. For most Anabaptists, right living had to be "a prerequisite to or concomitant to right knowing," and therefore became "one of the qualifications for proper interpretations." This interpretation-application necessitated a community and "brought together scripture (sole authority), Spirit (essential interpreter-teacher), and church (discerning body)."[1] Here, the Anabaptists furnish us an embodiment of a community seeking to identify the will of the author of Scripture for the purpose of implementing it. In doing so, they elegantly provide a universal paradigm for understanding the ethos of a Christian hermeneutical community. At least two parts of this paradigm, the centrality of Scripture combined with the necessity of the work of the Spirit, seem to recur in most other discussions about Christian hermeneutical communities, confirming its universality. While the elegance of this model is in its simplicity, its outworking is not necessarily simple. As will be seen in the following posts, the interaction between Scripture, Spirit, and community is not one-dimensional and unidirectional, but multi-dimensional and multi-directional.

[1]Ens, "The Hermeneutical Community," 82-85. 

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