A Theological Critique of Modern Exegetical Practice



The purpose of this article is to call for a more theologically rich understanding of the task of Scriptural interpretation. It begins by outlining a Trinitarian description of revelation and discussing what this means for our understanding of Scripture. Identifying Scripture as God’s primary instrumentality of revelation, the article advances the “theological virtues”—faith, hope, and love—as essential for a reader to interpret Scripture well.  

The article then explores modern exegesis’ interest in the literal meaning of the text and the current critique of this approach. It explores what authorial intention is through interacting with E.D. Hirsch’s distinction between “meaning” and “significance” and Gadamer’s understanding of interpretation through the metaphor of conversation. It argues that an affirmation of divine authorship and an understanding of Christ as God’s fullest self-revelation opens the way for theological interpretations of Scripture which go beyond human authorial intention. It then demonstrates such theological interpretation in the apostolic writings and its justification in the writings of Origen and Aquinas.


Scriptural interpretation; modern exegesis' interest; theological interpretation

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