Slaves, Women and Homosexuals: Exploring the Hermeneutics of Cultural Analysis

By Hiebert, Al | Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, December 2002 | Go to article overview

Slaves, Women and Homosexuals: Exploring the Hermeneutics of Cultural Analysis


Hiebert, Al, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society


Slaves, Women and Homosexuals: Exploring the Hermeneutics of Cultural Analysis. By William J. Webb. Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2001, 301 pp., $24.99 paper.

This groundbreaking study develops a hermeneutic for our transcultural interpretation and application of the ethical teachings of the Bible. As Webb argues, "Sometimes, by simply 'doing' the words of the text we automatically fulfill its spirit today"-a point some readers may miss because this is not the focus of his book. "At other times, however, living out the Bible's literal words in our modern context fails to fulfill its redemptive spirit" (p. 30). Here is the focus of his book: the need to note the "redemptive-movement" of the Bible's ethical teachings. Specifically, the Bible has "come a long way" relative to its contemporary cultural setting (criterion #1), but sometimes it still has a "long way to go" (criterion #11) toward God's ultimate ethical standard. To suggest a need to improve on the Bible's ethical teaching on some subjects sounds strange for those committed to the Bible's divine authority, as Webb is. This is not a reference to progressive revelation. It sounds more like Richard Hays's biblical "trajectories" concerning divorce.

To discern which biblical teachings are culture-bound and which are to be accepted as transculturally normative, Webb suggests a "redemptive-movement" hermeneutic of eighteen criteria and illustrates these by his analyses of the Bible's teachings on slaves, women, and homosexuals (and some fifty other issues, many of which we never preach but which nevertheless fuel secular ethicists' trashing of biblical ethics).

Webb introduces each of his eighteen criteria with an analysis of the "neutral," currently undisputed issue of slavery, which we agree ought to be abolished, though the Bible does not explicitly teach abolition. This illustrates his "X = Y = Z Principle," in which X indicates the perspective of the original culture at the time the biblical passage was written, Y indicates the teaching of the "isolated words" of the Bible on the subject, and Z indicates an ultimate ethic intended by God. From the perspective of X, the "isolated words" of the Bible (Y) may look (and be) redemptive. From a perspective closer to Z, the "isolated words" of the Bible may look (and be) regressive. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Slaves, Women and Homosexuals: Exploring the Hermeneutics of Cultural Analysis
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.