THE ETHICS OF INTERPRETATION - NEW VOICES FROM THE USA
AbstractElisabeth Schussler Fiorenza, in her 1987 SBL Presidential Address, argued for a paradigm shift in the ethos and rhetorical practices of biblical scholarship. In this article, recent contributions by four important spokespeople from the USA, all of them with influence in South African scholarship circles, are compared, to show that all of them, although in different ways, emphasize the importance of such a shift, in which the ethos of scholarly interpretation itself comes under focus. Two of them, Thiselton and Tracy, come from the tradition of hermeneutics, and the other two, Wueller and Fiorenza herself, from the tradition of rhetorical criticism. They agree that the ethos of biblical scholarship must not be that of value-free scientism, but that of responsibility, life-orientated human praxis, aware of its own socio-political role and function of power. Acknowledge this would involve nothing less than a revolutionary change of paradigm in many circles, with serious effects for institutionalized biblical scholarship itself.
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