Original Research

Why history matters: The place of historical consciousness in a multidimensional approach towards biblical interpretation

Louise C. Jonker
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 34, No 2 | a775 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v34i2.775 | © 2013 Louise C. Jonker | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 July 2012 | Published: 04 September 2013

About the author(s)

Louise C. Jonker, Discipline Group Old and New Testament, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa


Since the linguistic turn of New Criticism and the advent of reader-response approaches in the previous century, the category of history has come under pressure in biblical interpretation. New developments in general historiography have also emphasised that the past is forever past, and that only constructions of the past remain. These developments bring many to the conclusion that the past offers no assistance in the interpretation process. In my paper I would like to re-emphasise that ‘historical consciousness’ does not mean an anachronistic clinging to something which no longer exists, but rather refers to the ability to sense the multidimensionality of interpretation, particularly in the case of ancient biblical texts.


Biblical hermeneutics; History; Contextual reading; Historiography


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