Why history matters : the place of historical consciousness in a multidimensional approach towards biblical interpretation

Jonker, Louis C. (2013-09)

Publication of this article was funded by the Stellenbosch University Open Access Fund.

The original publication is available at http://www.ve.org.za/index.php/VE


Since the linguistic turn of New Criticism and the advent of reader-response approaches in the previous century, the category of history has come under pressure in biblical interpretation. New developments in general historiography have also emphasised that the past is forever past, and that only constructions of the past remain. These developments bring many to the conclusion that the past offers no assistance in the interpretation process. In my paper I would like to re-emphasise that ‘historical consciousness’ does not mean an anachronistic clinging to something which no longer exists, but rather refers to the ability to sense the multidimensionality of interpretation, particularly in the case of ancient biblical texts.

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