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Slaves, Women & Homosexuals: Exploring the Hermeneutics of Cultural… (edition 2001)

by William J. Webb

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Member:StephenBarkley
Title:Slaves, Women & Homosexuals: Exploring the Hermeneutics of Cultural Analysis
Authors:William J. Webb
Info:Unpublished Manuscript
Collections:Your library, @Church
Rating:***
Tags:Non-Fiction, Hermeneutics, Religion

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Slaves, Women & Homosexuals: Exploring the Hermeneutics of Cultural Analysis by William J. Webb

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Especially the first part of the book is thought provoking. After the first chapters he starts to apply his line of thinking to the questions of slavery, homosexuality and the place of women. In my opinion in the later chapters he goes to far to prove his point. He even made a list of good point, mediocre points and weak points. Which is an honost way of defending your hypothese, but doesn't make for nice reading. The further you go, the weaker the points get. No applauding big bang at the end, but just a squib.

He states that we should read (some parts) of the bible as an indicator to figure out in which way we should head to make for a better understanding of the will of God. We shouldn't read the laws of the bible as static. He then gives several criteria how we can figure out in which way a given text is pointing and if we should or should not bring the application of the text any further. Should we give women the same place in the church as men, because the text gives the women a little bit better place in the church than in the surrounding world, or should we stick to the text because its statement is final?
This goes much further than: "You should figure out what the writer intended to say with this text. And to do that you should figure out the context of the text." Which is the way I have learned to read the bible. In this 'context'-way of reading, you only try to understand what the underlying principle of the text is. You move up the abstraction ladder (to quote William Web). For example: the text about slavery should now be read as texts about employee and employer.
William Webb opposes this line of thinking. He says that God expresses Himself in ways so that his people may understand. Therefore there are several reasons why He doesn't always tell what it should be like in the end, the ultimate goal. William Webb explains what this reasons good be.
I still think it is a bit far fetched at times, but given the bible and his laws as it is, I think Webb's way of reading it, is the best and easiest way to keep the bible intellectualy believable. At least for me. ( )
  Hopsakee | May 4, 2011 |
In this profound work, Webb raises the essential question of biblical studies: how do we apply the text? Application, as it were, is often a matter of understanding culture, both of the original audience and of the modern reader. Through a series of 18 criteria (e.g. preliminary movement, seed ideas, and breakouts), Webb constructs a “hermeneutic of cultural analysis” – a method for understanding the place and influence of culture in the original text. Often times, these criteria point to the transcultural nature of a text (e.g. those texts regarding homosexuality); other times, however, this process indicates a redemptive movement in the text relative to the original culture (e.g. those texts regarding slavery and women). This redemptive movement, Webb argues, asks the reader to identify the “ultimate ethic,” which moves beyond the culturally situated words of certain texts. Whatever one’s position on these issues, Webb offers an engaging and important contribution to the hermeneutics of culture. A ( )
  bsanner | Jun 17, 2009 |
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