Iron and Bronze. The tribe of Dan
mc2499 at mclink.it
Tue Sep 17 22:38:58 EDT 2002
>DKS: My decision to bring the notion of prophecy into [Gen 49:16] is not by
>any means eisegesis.
I'd say that I jumped on the notion of prophetic
speaking without making clear that it was the
actual interpretation of the verse offered, ie
that "Dan will judge according to the Torah",
which I considered eisegesis. It is this
"according to the Torah" which I don't think can
be justified from the text itself.
>To allow presuppositions to lead one to contradict the
>clear meaning of a text is a definition of eisegesis.
I was using a simpler definition of the term,
ie to read meaning into a text (rather than
extract it from the text).
Although you said that you were "interpreting
the text as the text reads", I see no way to go
from k'xd $b+y y$r'l ("as a tribe of Israel") to
the interpretation you supply ("according to the
Torah"), hence my statement about eisegesis.
Perhaps you could supply the linguistics to get
to your interpretation from the text itself.
>What we need to do
>is to be conscious of our presuppositions, and then interpret the text
>without violating linguistic principles.
We may have different ideas about what constitutes
violating linguistic principles here. I think we
must accept the notion that the language used in
the text points to the meaning that the writer
wanted to convey to his audience, whether we
modern readers are able to understand that meaning
or not. (The writer may indeed be deliberately
obscurant in his approach, as in Daniel, yet his
audience must still be able to extract his meaning
otherwise the author is communicating, though I
think we can assume communication is the intent.)
I have talked about "normal" significances for
words and the necessity for alternative
significances to have some signaling in order for
them to have any relevance to a given reading, ie
you have to justify alternative readings of terms
from the linguistics of the text, working from the
notion that the writer is attempting to
communicate that meaning to his audience through
>We also need to be open to
>adjusting our presuppositions to fit what we encounter in the text -- but
>realistically we both know that doesn't often happen.
Sadly true, but that doesn't mean that we should
give in to the tendency. I have seen writers who
are upfront about their presuppositions and who
attempt to *circumvent* them in order to have a
better chance of reclaiming something from the
original text/culture they are working with. (An
example which comes to mind is Eugene Ulrich's
"The Dead Sea Scrolls and the Origins of the
Bible", Eerdmans/Brill, 1999.)
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