Homosexuality, Science, and the 'Plain Sense' of Scripture

By David L. Balch | Go to book overview

Concluding Observations by the Editor,
Including a Comparison of Christian with
Jewish Biblical Interpretation

DAVID L. BALCH


A. Interpretation of Scripture in the Christian Community

The debates in this volume raise the question of how to read the Bible. Several of the contributors assume aspects of a modern discussion which, on the Christian side, has issued largely from Yale Divinity School, from the Old Testament professor Brevard Childs and the theologians George Lindbeck and Hans Frei. Peter Ochs has coupled this Christian discussion with a similar one going on among Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform Jews, that is, between David Halivni, Michael Fishbane, and Steven Fraade. 1. These hermeneutical debates have consequences for how one interprets scriptural statements about the morality of homosexual acts. The hermeneutical and ethical discussions could and should illuminate each other. Some of the essays in this book assume but do not explicitly outline this hermeneutical debate. I will do so briefly in the following paragraphs, hoping that this gives readers easier access to these current discussions of how we might or should read the Bible in relation to ethical questions. I focus on these conservative ways of interpreting Scripture because their advocates appeal to them in our current debates about moral sexual activity.

____________________
1.
Peter Ochs, introduction to The Return to Scripture in Judaism and Christianity: Essays in Postcritical Scriptural Interpretation, ed. Peter Ochs ( New York: Paulist, 1993).

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