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Hermeneutics

Ezequiel González

Hermeneutics is the science of Biblical Interpretation. It comprises the rules and norms theologians seek to establish in order to Interpret the Sacred Writings (the Tanach, Bible and similar writings) in a coherent and rational way. This article presents a new way of Interpreting the Bible. It differs significantly from than of most theologians. The premises of this new Hermeneutics are:

The Bible is a Book written by Men and edited by the Godhead. As editor of the Bible the Godhead made sure that all the data contained in the biblical narrations is 100 percent accurate. Likewise when a writer in the Bible quotes God as saying something, we can be confident that those words actually came from God. Of course, when you write a concise summary of what somebody else says you don't write down every exact word that person said, but you summarized his statements using your own words. For example the "Sermon of the Mount" probably took a lot longer than the 15 or so minutes it takes to read what Matthews wrote down. Yet his written words accurately represent what Jesus actually said.

Also, remember that when quoting the GodHead, the Biblical accounts are 100 per cent accurate.

The Words of God...

Thus, the Bible does contains the Words of God. And we don't have to guest what parts were spoken by God. Any time the biblical writer quotes God as saying something, then those quoted words were spoken by God. Is that simple.

That does not means, however, that those are magical words having a profound and far reaching meaning applying to all mankind under all conditions. Far from it. The meaning of a given Biblical text and divine expression is determined by its immediate historical context. God spoke to specific individuals under specific conditions. To understand the specific meaning of those specific words we must understand the specifics of the situation involve. No magic here at all.

When the Biblical authors are not quoting God directly, then God is not speaking and those words are not "the word of God." They are part of the historical account edited by God and given to us for our individual and collective development. They are 100 percent accurate in their historical and scientific data. The Godhead knows more about Science and History that all mankind. He knows exactly every historical date, name, etc. As editor of the Bible is logical and rational to assume that he made sure that all historical data was 100 percent correct. No magic involve here neither.

...and The Writings of Men

Beyond this historical and scientific data, however, all writings contained in the Bible express the opinions of whoever wrote them and any quotations accurately reflect the opinions of whoever is being quoted. Thus, the account of Genesis is 100 per cent true, and the Universal Flood was a Historical event. Moses received the Law from God, the Reeds Sea did actually opened, and God did spoke every single word the prophets ascribed to him.

However, the Psalms are beautiful hymns written by David and others; the Proverbs came from Solomon, and Eclesiastes reflects the philosophy of Solomon; not necessarily God's. Likewise anytime the Gospels quote Jesus as saying something we can be 100 percent sure that he did say what is written there [although we must remember that he was a Hebrew Prophet preaching in Hebrew to a Hebrew population; the Gospels were written by hellenized Jews writing in Greek to a predominantly Greek population:]

The Gospels and Paul

The historical data of the Gospels is 100 per cent accurate, but the letters of the Disciples are not "The Word of God"; they are only the words of the disciples. They reflect how they understood the life and moral teaching of Jesus. They are invaluable in which they allow us to see how the disciples understood [or at times misunderstood] Jesus message. They include many historical facts that help us to build a more accurate picture of their lives and deeds. But they are not the "Word of God".

The Letter of Paul to the Romans is a good example. It is a marvelous summary of Pauline Theology. This theology eventually became the dominant theology leading to the establishment of the Catholic Church. Many of the historical developments within Catholicism could be traced to misunderstanding originating in Paul's writings. Celibacy, for example, was considered by Paul a better civil status than marriage. This is obviously wrong for God's natural disposition is that every human being may enjoy an abundant married life. Under specific circumstances and on some specific cases celibacy may become necessary. But it should never be the first choice and it should never be glorified. But Paul, a single man trying to cope with his own strong sexual drives and unwilling to allow marriage to hinder his commitment to the Apostolic ministry, convinced himself that celibacy was indeed a better, purer, more spiritual status. As this belief became dominant within the church, celibacy became a requisite of the Ministry.

Reading with Understanding

Likewise if you look at his other letter is you will find many other ideological blunders. This does not means that he was evil or corrupted. He was a man called by God to Preach the Gospel. In preaching that Gospel he did his best. But he was just human and made mistakes. When the church took his letters and canonized them, then his mistakes became augmented and dogmatized. It is time we change all that. His person should be respected. His reward is in the hands of God. And God will be fare with him. But we have the obligation of correcting the mistakes we may find in his letters. Thus, we must start a new era in Biblical Criticism. The scientific and historical facts of the Bible are 100 percent accurate. Every single quotation in the Bible is 100 percent accurate: When the Biblical account says that God said such and such a thing we can be 100 percent sure that those words accurately reflect what he said. But beyond that, any opinion; moral, theological or otherwise included in the Biblical account only reflect the personal opinion or theology or whoever wrote it or said it.

As we look at the Bible from this new perspective many topics for research come to mind. For example: If Jesus lived in Israel, if he and his disciples spoke and wrote Hebrew, why are all the surviving new Testament writings in Greek? For the first 15 years of his existence the Christian Church was made up almost entirely of Jews whose primary language was Hebrew. Some writing must had been made during those years. Why were they not preserve? Did Jesus really wrote nothing at all? Why? As more and more gentiles joined the church a debate about circumcision erupted in the Church. Paul wanted to get rid of it. Others wanted to retain not only circumcision but all other aspects of the Law. Obviously Paul's faction eventually won. But do you really believe that all those on the opposite faction were evil? Do you really belive that they wrote nothing at all? It would be interesting to know what they though.

For after all, in rejecting circumcision and the law Paul was in direct contradiction with Jesus. Jesus clearly said "till heavens and earth passed away, not a period not a comma will be invalidated from the Torah [The Law]." Thus, according to Jesus the law is still in full effect. The Idea that we we are under Grace and no longer under the law is a Pauline idea whose time is coming to an end. The law is still in effect and will be fully restored during the Millennium.

This, then, dear reader, is the simple foundation of this new Hermeneutics: common sense with no room for mystical idealizations. Try it out; and a new world of biblical understanding will open for you.