Monday, 23 July 2012

Stanley Porter on Anthony C. Thiselton and Hermeneutics

In a recent post, I offered some brief reflections on a recent conference on hermeneutics held at the university of Nottingham in honour of Professor Anthony C. Thiselton on the occasion of his 75th birthday.
Stanley Porter – one of the scholars who presented a paper at the conference – has followed up with a blog post on Thiselton himself (‘A Personal Perspective on a Senior Scholar: The Life and Work of Professor Anthony Thiselton’) and one on hermeneutics (‘Continuing the Hermeneutical Discussion’).
When it comes to defining ‘hermeneutics’, Porter is what I have sometimes called – with no disparagement intended – a ‘purist’, seeking to make sure that ‘hermeneutics’ is not easily conflated with ‘interpretation’. As he says at one point in the second of the two posts above:
‘Students... are not always well served by various books that purport to be about hermeneutics. There are too many books that are more about interpretation – which usually means hermeneutics as technique or how to do it – than about what it means to understand as a human being. Many books that are used in seminary courses, even if they use the word hermeneutics, are often more about how to do interpretation – exegesis, if you will – than they are about what it means to understand. Some of these are books written by individual authors, and others are collections of essays with a little bit (often too little) on a wide range of topics. I won’t name names here, but such volumes are easily identifiable. They may be good for what they are, but they rarely address the major hermeneutical issues.’

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