All Interpretation is Contextual Interpretation – in the Past and Today: Towards an Analogical Hermeneutic

Keywords: Analogical hermeneutics, Ancient Contexts, Contemporary context, Interpretation


The debate about “context” in Hebrew Bible / Old Testament scholarship often centres around the question: “Which context: ancient or contemporary?” Depending on whether the scholar answering the question comes from a Western educational background or from a global southern (including African) background, the question might – with some exception – be answered differently. Because of their training in historical models of understanding, Western-minded scholars will often emphasise that the context(s) within which the texts were produced is (are) our primary focus in biblical interpretation. Scholars from the Global South who are often exposed to all kinds of life interests of Bible readers, would mostly give primacy to the contemporary contexts of appropriation. Who is right? In this contribution I want to argue that it is not a matter of “either …. or” but rather “both …. and”, and that the dynamic of re-interpretation should also be brought into our discussions on this matter.


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Author Biography

Louis Jonker, Stellenbosch University
Department of Old and New Testament, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa