Spiraling Out of Control?

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David Paul | Forum Activity | Posted: Sat, Jan 12 2013 11:52 AM

A quote from the Introduction of Grant Osborne's book:

Three perspectives are critical to a proper understanding of the interpretive task. First, hermeneutics is a science, since it provides a logical, orderly classification of the laws of interpretation. In the first part, which constitutes the bulk of this book, I will seek to rework the “laws” of interpretation in light of the enormous amount of material from related disciplines such as linguistics or literary criticism.

Osborne, G. R. (2006). The Hermeneutical Spiral : A Comprehensive Introduction to Biblical Interpretation (Rev. and expanded, 2nd ed.) (21). Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press.

Does anyone else find this statement to be inherently bizarre and contradictory?

The laws not according as expected? No matter...just "rework" them. Hmm

Are the laws in error because not all the facts were in to be accounted for? Well, that pretty much means that they couldn't have ever been "the law", doesn't it?

This is supposed to be one of the preeminent books in this field...and his entire premise is sand.

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Dominick Sela | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jan 12 2013 12:21 PM

These forums are for questions about usage of Logos software. Others may disagree with your position on the author's perspective, and hence a debate begins which does not belong here.

 Please adhere to the guidelines and refrain, thanks!

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David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jan 12 2013 12:22 PM

His very next line continues...

Second, hermeneutics is an art, for it is an acquired skill demanding both imagination and an ability to apply the “laws” to selected passages or books. Such can never be merely learned in the classroom but must result from extensive practice in the field. My students normally take about twenty-five hours to complete a sermon for my hermeneutics course. I tell them that after they have been preaching for three years, they will do a better message in half the time. It is all about learning the fine art of preparing messages. I will try to demonstrate the hermeneutical “art” with numerous examples drawn from Scripture itself.

Osborne, G. R. (2006). The Hermeneutical Spiral : A Comprehensive Introduction to Biblical Interpretation (Rev. and expanded, 2nd ed.) (21). Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press.

This is a bit scary...because as a guy who is in the process of introducing a concept regarding "how to interpret"...he is pretty much violating all of the "laws" he is about to start promoting.

He just said "it" was a law...and now he is saying "it" is an art--a skill. Well, what we have here is a failure to distinguish between nouns and verbs--conceptual things and actions. One can "bat" a ball with a "bat"...but the two "bats", though obviously related, are not the same thing. What Osborne is failing to distinguish (at least here in his Introduction, where he is supposed to be laying the conceptual groundwork and foundation, and as such elemental clarity is most required) is the difference between interpretation as "a description" of concepts and interpreation as "the practice" of implementing those concepts.

Osborne is failing to distinguish hermeneutics from the practice of hermeneutics.

 

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David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jan 12 2013 12:23 PM

Zip it!

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jan 12 2013 1:21 PM

This is an excellent example of why we need an argument mapping tool in Logos - to compare and evaluate your argument and Osbourne's argument.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jan 12 2013 3:27 PM

I just LOVE MJ's suggestion; I don't know if she's serious.

In my highlighting, I reserve one marker for woeful logic. But it'd be nice to be able to visually 'connect the dots' (for better or worse).

Periodically I disagree with Mark but I'd happily download a resource's logic-flow  written by him. For example a greek vs jewish NT culture source.

News to me Logos resources can't be discussed on the Logos forum. I get a lot of good buys from forum commenters.


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davidphillips | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jan 12 2013 4:01 PM

David Paul:
He just said "it" was a law...and now he is saying "it" is an art--a skill. Well, what we have here is a failure to distinguish between nouns and verbs--conceptual things and actions. One can "bat" a ball with a "bat"...but the two "bats", though obviously related, are not the same thing. What Osborne is failing to distinguish (at least here in his Introduction, where he is supposed to be laying the conceptual groundwork and foundation, and as such elemental clarity is most required) is the difference between interpretation as "a description" of concepts and interpreation as "the practice" of implementing those concepts.

Actually, according to your first quote, he says it is a science, not a law.

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David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jan 12 2013 4:26 PM

Wikipedia on Science:

In modern use, "science" more often refers to a way of pursuing knowledge, not only the knowledge itself. It is "often treated as synonymous with 'natural and physical science', and thus restricted to those branches of study that relate to the phenomena of the material universe and their laws, sometimes with implied exclusion of pure mathematics. This is now the dominant sense in ordinary use."

He does refer to hermeneutics as a science...and proceeds to describe it as made up of laws...which he intends to alter.

It is interesting that the article acknowledges science as both a conceptual "thing" and as a process...but doesn't blur them as being identical.

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David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jan 12 2013 5:12 PM

Super Tramp:

I don't read it that way.

Okay...but...

Super Tramp:

I understand the author to be saying the "laws" are not, nor could be "laws"[...]

...but Osborne CLEARLY says "hermeneutics is a science...of the laws of interpretation"...so whatever you "read" ought to include this bare fact.

Super Tramp:

...and the author sets out to show why we should shift paradigms and take a fresh view.

I am just getting into the book, so I am entirely willing to accept that Osborne will make more sense in the pages that follow...in fact, I feel certain that he will (up to a point). But his statements in the Introduction aren't terribly good at invoking a sense of content and application mastery. I don't consider him to be an incompetent stumblebum...even though he stumbled right out of the gate.

Fwiw, my sense of proper interpretation of Scripture perceives global fundamental flaws in Osborne's so-called "science" of "the laws of interpretation". I don't lay this all at Osborne's feet. This problem has existed since before the NT was even completely written, much less codified. Calling this process "hermeneutics" certainly didn't help...although it does help explain how things did indeed spiral out of control.

Super Tramp:

Incidentally, this is one of a half dozen books in Logos I bought at "retail" without a sale or discount. I also like this book very much. (Maybe my endorsement is the kiss of death...hope not.)

Like you, I have wanted this book for a long time. I did break down and buy Carson's book on hermeneutics this past summer...which lead to a bit of interesting discussion. But my patience bore fruit in this case. This was included in L5's Portfolio (and Diamond) package, so I'm now making time to read it through.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jan 12 2013 5:13 PM

DMB:
I don't know if she's serious.

Yes, I am - very.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jan 12 2013 5:21 PM

Okay, but...

1) do you have any examples outside of Logos that illustrate what you are envisioning?

2) is there a reason a similar non-Logos program couldn't accomplish the same thing? In other words, what advantages do you see for the module to be resident in Logos, apart from the fact we would use it on Logos resources?

I ask with the purpose of determining if waiting for Logos to produce such a product is desirable or necessary if other similar things are available elsewhere.

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davidphillips | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jan 12 2013 7:24 PM

My point in stating that he calls hermeneutics a science and not a law was not related to your qualm about the laws of interpretation per se, but rather to your closing paragraph where you indict Osborne of being a poor thinker unaware of basic grammatical rules because he calls hermeneutics a law and an art. But he didn't say it was a law, but a science. He thus does not fail to demonstrate elemental clarity as you indicate.

further, there should be no problem with indicating something has both rules to be followed (law) and nevertheless has elements of an art or skill as well. Even art itself can be considered to have rules or guidelines to be followed to produce aesthetically pleasing results (for example http://www.hanselman.com/blog/ThereIsOnlyOneCloudIconInTheEntireUniverse.aspx)

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jan 12 2013 10:16 PM

David Paul:
1) do you have any examples outside of Logos that illustrate what you are envisioning?

dialogic example: http://www.prism.gatech.edu/~mh327/LAM/defeasible-reasoning-in-a-dialogue-on-Tweety.pdf
  Tweety Bird - great fun

formal method: AGORA http://www.prism.gatech.edu/~mh327/LAM/index_files/Page761.htm

formal method: Argunet http://www.argunet.org/debates/

critical thought method: Rationale http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_map

critical thought method: Argumentative http://sourceforge.net/projects/argumentative/

David Paul:
what advantages do you see for the module to be resident in Logos, apart from the fact we would use it on Logos resources?

It moves us towards using notes as propositions for improving (a) exegesis (b) apologetics - especially presuppositional (c) belief coherency and (d) recognizing arguments that are not supportable no matter how generous you are at giving them the benefit of doubt.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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DominicM | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jan 13 2013 1:16 AM

thanks for sharing those links MJ, an eyeopener loved the tweety, a but cumbersome but IMO we could likely use the Sentance Diagramming tool for most of these, then they could be shared if desired

Never Deprive Anyone of Hope.. It Might Be ALL They Have

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Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jan 13 2013 7:33 AM

I used to have mindmap software on my phone to manage with.  I think the word 'mind map' puts off some people ... sounds positively strange.

But I would think if indeed Logos is targeting Christian groups, then sermon support, presentations, and organization/planning seems like a good fit (assuming pastors and leaders indeed do this type of planning; I don't know ... it's essential if you have a decently complicated business).

It was only when I started investing in Logos that I started noticing the need to connect up the various dots (whether in a good way or bad).

I suppose 'notes' could sort of do that. The problem is you can not see the overall structure absent the classic outline etc. Similar to highlighting but not seeing the whole picture.  I think Logos already sees some benefits, as demonstrated in the sense lexicon.

I messed around with sentence diagrams earlier as an alternative to 'mind maps'; it's certainly visual but you can't connect it with the resources, authors, etc?


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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Jan 13 2013 11:17 AM

DominicM:
an eyeopener loved the tweety, a but cumbersome

Tweety does not illustrate my preferred method but it works well for a facilitator in a group setting.

DominicM:
IMO we could likely use the Sentance Diagramming tool

I've tried that and find it cumbersome but having a visible grid would improve the workability. I'd certainly encourage integration with the Sentence Diagram. Like other visual presentation, familiarity is the key as to what is helpful or not helpful. I believe that Logos needs to keep an eye on the visual skills of a high school graduate to stay ahead of the curve as a study tool. Some variation of the Toulmin module used by Rationale is the most commonly known format. Although there is another format for which I did not give an example pushed by freshman college critical thinking classes.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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