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Reading the Bible in the 21st century: Some hermeneutical principles: Part 1

Dirk van der Merwe

Verbum et Ecclesia; Vol 36, No 1 (2015), 8 pages. doi: 10.4102/ve.v36i1.1391

Submitted: 20 October 2014
Published:  22 June 2015


Many books and articles have been published over several decades on ‘biblical hermeneutics’ to capture the epistemology of biblical hermeneutics and the phenomenology of interpretation, communication and language in order to direct the Bible reader how to read the ancient texts, assembled in the Bible, sensibly. The first part of this essay looks briefly into the history of biblical hermeneutics of the past century in order to generate an orientation of how ‘biblical hermeneutics’ was regarded and applied as well as to constitute an environment for the investigation to follow in the rest of this essay and in a succeeding essay. In the second part of this essay, a few hermeneutical approaches are analysed in order to recommend a way forward for the dynamic analysis and interpretation (ἑρμηνεία) of biblical texts. This prepares the stage for the recommendation of two extra textures or aspects to be incorporated in the hermeneutical process, to be investigated in a succeeding essay.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: This article briefly orientates the reader about the paradigm shifts concerning biblical hermeneutics over the previous half century. It challenges the holistic approach to incorporate spirituality and the embodiment of biblical texts in the hermeneutical process. Disciplines involved are hermeneutics and methodology, theology and spirituality.

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Author affiliations

Dirk van der Merwe, Department of Christian Spirituality, Church History and Missiology, University of South Africa, South Africa



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ISSN: 1609-9982 (print) | ISSN: 2074-7705 (online)

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