Rel 401 Essay

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Religion 401/COL July 10, 2012 1. Explain what is meant by Scriptural Hermeneutics, and the significance of Ricoeur’s thought. Assess why these methods came about and are used by modern readers. Scriptural hermeneutics is a method of interpreting Scripture in which a person recognizes their own prejudgments and realizes that these prejudgments “strongly influence their understanding of the text” (Albl 61). This school of thought has been vital for modern readers of scripture to interpret and to gain a better understanding of the ancient and symbolic language used throughout the Bible. One such philosopher to utilize scriptural hermeneutics is Paul Ricoeur. His thought is significant in that it involves critical reason, critical awareness, and rational reflection to gain a clearer understanding of the symbolic, pre-historical language of scripture in the modern world. According to Ricoeur, “If it is true that there is always more than one way of construing a text, it is not true that all interpretations are equal.… the text is a limited field of possible constructions” (Ricoeur 160). To discover the meaning within the symbolism of scripture, Ricoeur encourages argument and confrontation of an interpretation, and to find an agreement amongst them “even if this agreement remains beyond our reach” (160). As such, Ricoeur engages the reader in an active role of interior self-discovery in scripture interpretation, always realizing that “we must understand in order to believe, but we must believe in order to understand” (qtd. in Albl 63). There are several reasons why scriptural hermeneutics came about. First and foremost, modern readers need help in understanding the ancient language of scripture. The English version of the Bible is in itself a translation, as it was originally an oratorical account later transcribed in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek. The Bible, in

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