Monday, April 30, 2012

Hermeneutics, Relativity, and the Illusion of the One Right Way

The Polish philosopher Leszek Kolakowski set forth the Law of the Infinite Cornucopia, which notes that no shortage exists of reasons to bolster whatever theory anyone wants to believe  (New York Review of Books (January 11, 1996), 10). I suggest a theological version that I will call the Law of Infinite Hermeneutical Adaptability. This law states that the Bible can be interpreted to make it compatible with nearly every conceivable doctrine. The greatest proof of the operation of this Law is that irreconcilable positions on nearly every theological and ethical question are extant, all of which claim to have the sanction of Scripture. The sublime form of the Law indicates that reasons can always be given to demonstrate that Jesus himself would have approved of the conclusions reached by a given individual or community. When the Law of Infinite Hermeneutical Adaptability is in operation, it is nearly always accompanied by the Phenomenon of Total Surprise. I prefer the description of this Phenomenon in its "Lo and Behold" form: When individuals and groups find the Word of God in the Bible, the results, lo and behold, turn out to be identical with what they themselves believe!.

Properly adapted, this principle works whether it is a Christian interpreting the Bible, a Muslim interpreting the Koran, or a SCOTUS Justice interpreting the American Constitution.

Check it out.

No comments: