Every Sunday, I will share a quote from something I’ve been reading. The hope is for you, dear reader, to share your thoughts on the quote and related issues and perhaps pick up some reading material along the way!
Questioning Exegesis Through Discovery?
One area that evangelical theologians must weigh is the notion that exegesis should line up with reality. Thus, how might one balance an interpretation between some apparent readings and the findings of certain scientific discoveries? Must they even be balanced at all? Davis Young and Ralph Stearley’s magisterial work on the age of the Earth, The Bible, Rocks and Time, provides an interesting historical background for how discoveries led to the questioning of exegesis of certain texts:
[In the 17th Century…] foundations were gradually being laid for questioning the accepted opinion about the age of the Earth [that being a few thousand years]. Advances in the study of fossils and rock strata were both necessary before such questioning would come about… (47, cited below)
Thus, historically, there has been an interplay between scientific discovery and exegesis of key texts of Scripture. Without certain scientific advances, received opinion on certain features of the natural world remain unquestioned. However, once scientific advances made it possible, these opinions were challenged and often abandoned in the face of extrabiblical evidence. The book provides a great overview for how the interplay between discovery and exegesis played out.
What are your thoughts? Should new discoveries be allowed to challenge received interpretations? How might we best deal with discoveries in the natural world which apparently clash with our reading of the text?
Sunday Quote– If you want to read more Sunday Quotes and join the discussion, check them out! (Scroll down for more)
Davis A. Young and Ralph F. Stearley, The Bible, Rocks and Time (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2008).