Is this a rock or not? I Would like to know

Dan Wagner Dan.Wagner at
Fri Feb 16 15:57:38 EST 2001

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Ian Hutchesson [mailto:mc2499 at]
> Sent: Friday, February 16, 2001 14:07
> It is a hypothesis.

Yours is not?

> >At least much more so than Gaon, or even the Targums. From
> >a secular standpoint, i would assume that while Matthew's 
> interpretation
> (or
> >Jesus or Paul, as Hebrew Rabbis)
> What got put into the mouth of Jesus doesn't equal what Jesus 
> said. You are
> historicizing literary figures.

He promised them that the Spirit would remind them of what He'd said so that
they could write it, and He told them that people would believe on Him
through their word (writings). Jesus was not a mere literary fraud but a
real, historical person according to Paul in 1 Cor. 15 (and other places).
Authorship and integrity, if i recall correctly, of 1 Corinthians is
accepted even by unbelieving scholarship. They don't believe it's true, but
they accept that Paul believed it. Paul is not disputed as a historical
character, and it's my personal opinion that he was also a man of integrity.

I assume at least a minimum of historicity/integrity to something as obvious
even from the most critical standpoint; you *appear* to assume nothing in
the text could have integrity if it's inconvenient for your presuppositions.

> >might not be final, it should at least be
> >worthy of discussion. I can't see any scholarly reason why 
> it should be
> >categorically dismissed.
> Isn't our basic job to discuss what the writers of the Hebrew 
> texts were
> saying? How do you imagine these writers writing the 
> materials that you want
> to interpret in a particular way: were they cogniscent of the 
> contents of
> the materials they were writing? If they were, then *their* 
> message -- as
> writers of the texts -- is what should interest us, how it is 
> worded, who it
> was written for, why it was written, when it was written. 
> These things come
> from the text and the precise historical period it was written in.

We are in absolute, total agreement. Amazing, huh?!!

> >Further, since such interpretations are significant to Christians for
> >understanding the Hebrew Bible,
> This is a statement of (obviously some form of Christian) 
> belief which will
> not be acceptable to all on this list.

Which is precisely what i assume in stating it. It only applies to

> A text should be 
> understandable when
> one has control of all the words in the text and how they 
> functioned at the
> time of writing.


> >it's actually impossible to exclude them
> >entirely from consideration unless the Christian interpretation is
> >dismissed/excluded a priori.
> How does what one says a hundred, two hundred, maybe five 
> hundred years
> later change the meaning of the writer's text?

It should not, cannot, and does not *change* the meaning. I'm against the
idea that the NT writers or any other interpreter can or should change the
meaning of any text. They may argue logical conclusions, expand, give
implications, interpret what was formerly ambiguous or elusive in meaning,
but they can never alter or reinterpret the meaning of a passage.

> >If one is willing to discuss the viability of
> >only those interpretative alternatives which are 
> non-Christian, then that
> >should be one's own, self-imposed decision.
> Are we not discussing what the *writers* wrote?


> If you can establish some means of making the interpretations 
> that interest
> you relevant to the production of the texts under discussion, 
> it would make
> your case more credible.

OK, this gets a bit theological, but since you asked, i will do that
concisely! The "production of the texts under discussion" was not performed
by men alone with mere human agenda to promote Judah, Israel, David, the
priesthood, etc. I find such arguments unconvincing. Rather, that
"production" was under the direction of the Holy Spirit as He moved men to
speak/write (e.g. 2 Sm. 23:2, but constantly emphasized that the message was
from Yahweh, e.g. over 40X in Lev. alone), not for human agenda, but for a
divine agenda. Thus we find a unity throughout the Hebrew Bible that is
always designed to reveal to man the way of salvation. One ultimate Author
behind the texts gives the one unified message we find; He had one agenda.
Since, according to the text, that same Holy Spirit also was behind "the
interpretations that interest [me]" in the NT, He can't be contradicting
Himself; He is still contributing to that same divine agenda of revealing
the necessity and the way of salvation to man.

Now, while many will not accept this, i only ask that you consider that for
those who do, it's going to have some bearing on our presuppositions to the
Hebrew text from which we cannot be asked to divorce ourselves, and that for
our worldview it's an *entirely* creditable view, even as we recognize that
for those with an alternative worldview it may appear ridiculous. Others are
free to deny that they have presuppositions outside the text, but i have no
personal desire to join such ideology. Let's just get on with the
discussions as best we can and let the moderators sort things out at their
own discretion!

Dan Wagner 

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