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«_ A Dissertation Presented to the Faculty of the School of Theology Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary Fort Worth, Texas _ In Partial ...»

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This writer, following Moo, suggests that ajnakainwvsei “picks up kainovthti pneuvmato~ (‘newness of Spirit’) from 7:6.” The work of the Spirit provides the avenue w{ste douleuvein hJma`~ ejn kainovthti pneuvmato~ kai; ouj palaiovthti gravmmato~ (Rom 7:6).96 This is the renewal of the mind by which the Spirit illuminates Scripture, which is the written deposit of th`/ didach`/ tw`n ajpostovlwn. That which is renewed is noo;~, a noun which points specifically to the worldview of an individual.97 In an apostolic approach for the evangelization of postmodern people, th`/ didach`/ tw`n ajpostovlwn provides the avenue 49 (Fall 1987): 363.

James L. Boyer, “A Classification of Imperatives:

A Statistical Study,” Grace Theological Journal 8 (Spring 1987): 49.

See Brooks and Winberry, Syntax of New Testament Greek, 44-45.

“So that we might serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.” Peter Stuhlmacher, Paul’s Letter to the Romans: A

Commentary, trans. Scott J. Hafemann (Louisville:

Westminster / John Knox Press, 1994), 189. J. Behm, s.v.

“nou`~,” TDNT, 4:958-59. Behm indicates that nou`~ presents the foundation of reason and will that influences how one lives.

through which the community of faith leads postmodern people to a transformation of their worldview.98 Moo cogently

summarizes the transformation of worldview when he writes:

“Christians are to adjust their way of thinking about everything in accordance with the ‘newness’ of their life in the Spirit (cf. 7:6).99 Schnelle suggests that ei\nai ejn Cristw`/ designates the “newness of life” as a “neuen Seins und Lebens.”100 This new existence and life of believers ejn Cristw`/ appear “als der Raum, in dem sich seinshafte Veränderungen vollziehen und gelebt werden. Die Getauften sind in allen Lebensäußerungen durch Christus bestimmt, und in ihrer Gemeinschaft gewinnt das neue Sein sichtbar Gestalt.”101 The apostles’ doctrine, therefore, is the call to conform to the will of God revealed through Jesus Christ “in allen Lebensäußerungen durch Christus.” Herman A. Hoyt, “A Genuine Christian NonConformity: Romans 12:2,” Grace Journal 8 (Winter 1967): 7.

D. Moo, Epistle to the Romans, 756-757.

Udo Schnelle, “Transformation und Partizipation in paulinischer Theologie,” New Testament Studies 47 (January 2001): 68.

Ibid., 69-70. “... as the realm in which personally responsible changes will be fulfilled and lived.

The baptized are determined through Christ in all life expressions, and in its community the new existence gains visible shape.” An apostolic approach for the evangelization of postmodern people requires the transformation of worldviews.

The connection between the community and the transformation of worldviews is found in devotion to the apostles’ doctrine. Postmodernism, however, exalts the process of hermeneutics. The following excursus examines the relationship between hermeneutics and the postmodern resistance to the transformation of worldview through Scripture.

–  –  –

Hermeneutics plays an important role in the premise of postmodernism. Postmodern theorists propose that truth is a product of the community. D. A. Carson suggests that postmodernism “depends not a little on what are perceived to be the fundamental limitations on the power of interpretation.”102 Stanley Fish, Richard Rorty, and Jacques Derrida represent three leading voices in postmodern hermeneutics.

Stanley Fish’s “reader-response” approach to hermeneutics presents a leading voice in postmodern theory D. A. Carson, The Gagging of God: Christianity Confronts Pluralism (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996), 57.

of interpretation.103 According to Fish, the meaning of a text is the reader’s response to the text.104 The text is an “entity independent of interpretation” and “is replaced by the texts that emerge” from interpretation within the social setting.105 Fish further indicates that all “interpretation is the source of texts, facts, authors, and intentions.”106 By this endeavor, Fish dismisses foundationalism because it prohibits the reader from “the most remarkable of his abilities, the ability to give the world meaning rather than to extract a meaning that is already there.”107 According to Fish’s hermeneutical program, one comes to the text to create rather than discover meaning.108 Fish views a text as “an empty, separate domain, awaiting the collective intention that will fill it.”109 For Fish, Stanley Fish, Is There a Text in This Class?: The Authority of Interpretive Communities (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1980), 1-17.

Ibid., 158.

Ibid., 13.

Ibid., 16.

Ibid., 86.

Ibid., 326-27. He proposes that in his model “the reader was freed from the tyranny of the text and given the central role in the production of meaning” (Ibid., 7).

William Ray, Literary Meaning: From Phenomenology to Deconstruction (New York: Basil Blackwell, 1984), 162.

the only parameter in interpretation is the “point of view” in the interpretive community.110 As Culler sees Fish’s proposal, the “notion of ‘what the text says’ itself depends upon common procedures of reading.”111 Thus, the different interpretive strategies of exegetical communities make the text speak differently. The readers in their interpretive community is determinative in the creation of meaning.112 Richard Rorty proposes another leading approach in postmodern interpretation which focuses on conversation as hermeneutics.113 The assumption of Rorty’s position consists in his concept of the acquisition of truth. He rejects Crispin Wright’s “representationalist” portrayal of the cognitive discourse114 which, according to Rorty, views S. Fish, Is There a Text in This Class?, 335-37.





Jonathan Culler, The Pursuit of Signs: Semiotics, Literature, Deconstruction (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1981), 125.

D. A. Carson, The Gagging of God, 126.

Richard Rorty, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1979), 390-94.

Crispin Wright, Truth and Objectivity (Cambridge:

Harvard University Press, 1992), 91-93. Wright indicates that the “representation of facts” incorporates the “correct... perspective on the truth predicate” (Ibid., 83).

Wright’s contention is that truth is the “output” of the cognitive function of an individual correctly handling the “input” of information. Differences of opinion between two or more individuals concerning the same information is the result of a priori “differences of opinion.” “human beings as machines constructed (by God or Evolution) to, among other things, get things right.” Rorty’s approach is “to get rid of that self-image and to replace it with a picture of machines that continually adjust to each other’s behavior, and to their environment, by developing novel kinds of behavior.”115 Rorty’s assumption is that the acquisition of truth is not the goal of discourse.116 Rather, the continual adjustment toward others and the social context is the goal of discourse.117 This “continual adjustment” provides the framework for conversation as “the ultimate context within which knowledge is to be understood.”118 For Rorty, hermeneutics is the conversation between people who come to the end of their “edifying discourse” with understanding, but who do not seek truth as the goal of the dialogue. Because no vocabulary or text “is closer to reality than another” nor Richard Rorty, Truth and Progress: Philosophical Papers, Volume 3 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 32.

Ibid., 3-4. Rorty writes: “Truth is not a goal of inquiry. If ‘truth’ is the name of such a goal then, indeed, there is no truth. For the absoluteness of truth makes it unserviceable as such a goal.” Ibid., 5.

Rorty, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, 389.

“in touch with a power not herself,”119 hermeneutics involves merely “obedience to our own conventions.”120 Rorty seeks to “abandon the courtroom of truth for the carnival of redescription.”121 “Redescription” is the process by which one makes something “to look good or bad,” depending upon the goal and context of “language game.”122 The ultimate arbiter in hermeneutics is the individual.123 Texts and vocabularies are interpreted through conversation and “re-description.” The end-game of hermeneutics for Rorty is to “make something that never had been dreamed of before.”124 This hermeneutical process results in a pragmatic, “whatever works best” interpretation.

In this way, according to Rorty, “hermeneutics is Richard Rorty, Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), 73.

Richard Rorty, Consequences of Pragmatism (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1982), xlii.

Douglas Groothuis, Truth Decay: Defending Christianity Against the Challenges of Postmodernism (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2000), 198.

Richard Rorty, Objectivity, Relativism, and Truth:

Philosophical Papers, Volume 1 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 102-103.

Rorty, Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity, 97.

Rorty suggests that individuals are not judged by any external reality or final vocabularies, but only by themselves.

Ibid.

always parasitic” upon epistemology informed “by the culture of the day.”125 Interpretation is an internal, unconscious need to create “a self” for oneself through a re-description of the “blind impress” of chance upon one’s life.126 The goal of hermeneutics is to appropriate various options for epistemology, re-describe the context in life, and create “a self” for oneself. Roger Lundin suggests that Rorty’s hermeneutics presents the reader as the “parasite” who seeks “to bring the dead text to life by internalizing it.”127 Jacques Derrida’s concept of différance provides another view of the hermeneutical process in postmodern thought.128 Derrida’s concept of différance is the fulcrum of his deconstruction project. Vanhoozer suggests that “Derrida is an unbeliever in the reliability, decidability, and neutrality of the sign.”129 Différance is the Rorty, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature, 365Rorty, Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity, 43.

Roger Lundin, Clarence Walhout, and Anthony

Thiselton, The Promise of Hermeneutics (Grand Rapids:

Eerdmans, 1999), 41.

Jacques Derrida, “Différance,” in Deconstruction in Context: Literature and Philosophy, ed. Mark C. Taylor (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986), 396-420.

Kevin J. Vanhoozer, Is There a Meaning in This Text?: The Bible, the Reader, and the Morality of Literary Knowledge (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1998), 39.

“neologism” which Derrida uses to describe the instability, undecidability, and partiality of language. He suggests that this hermeneutical process is “strategic” because “no transcendent truth... can govern theologically the totality of the field.” It is adventurous because it does not move toward a “a telos or theme of domination.”130 Derrida conceptualizes self-consciousness as a product of signs and the interminable play of language.131 The consciousness can only express meaning through a reference to the past (retention) and the future (protention) -- “memory and expectation.”132 This expression comes from the movement of trace, which is the “archphenomenon of memory.”133 Retention is the movement of the trace within the consciousness that “produces the Jacques Derrida, Of Grammatology, rev. ed., trans.

Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997), 399-400.

Jacques Derrida, Speech and Phenomenon: And Other Essays on Husserl’s Theory of Signs, trans. David B. Allison and Newton Garver (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1973), 16. Derrida seeks to deconstruct Husserl’s exaltation of “voice,” or phone, as the avenue to connect with the ideal object apart from the contaminating forces of external context.

Ibid., 64.

J. Derrida, Of Grammatology, 70. The concept of “trace” is the relationship between the signifier of something in the present and “something other than itself” in the past (retention). It is the relationship between the signifier in the present and a future element (protention).

subject.”134 Protention is the movement of the trace which introduces the “movement of différance,” so that the sign of the present introduces reference to another sign not in the present.135 The signifier possesses meaning only in relationship with other signifiers.136 Différance “‘is’ in itself nothing outside of different denominations.”137 Derrida’s hermeneutic rejects the possibility of a transcendental “concept signified in and of itself.”138 Derrida suggests that “the central signified, the original or transcendental signified, is never absolutely present outside a system of differences. The absence of the transcendental signified extends the domain and the play of signification infinitely.”139 This absence produces “differences and traces of traces.”140 The result of Derrida’s hermeneutic is a text with J. Derrida, Speech and Phenomenon, 82.

Ibid., 67.

Ibid., 44.

Jacques Derrida, Limited Inc (Evanston, IL:

Northwestern University Press, 1988), 149.

Jacques Derrida, Positions, trans. Alan Bass (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981), 19.

Jacques Derrida, Writing and Difference, trans.

Alan Bass (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1978), 280.

J. Derrida, Positions, 26.

“infinite implications.”141 Derrida’s use of terms with “double, contradictory, undecidable value” presents his hermeneutic of différance.142 As Joy notes, Derrida’s use of these terms “insures that neither any past nor future possibilities of meaning can be exhausted” and dismantles “univocity by exploiting plurivocity” in texts.143 For Derrida, there can be no final, ultimate meaning of a particular text.



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