David Law: The Interpreter’s Task

David R. Law, The Historical-Critical Method: A Guide for the Perplexed (London: Continuum, 2012), 19.

The task of the interpreter is surely to allow the Bible to speak for itself and not to impose an official interpretation upon it. The text should be examined on its own merits and we should not impose an a priori meaning upon the text. This does not mean that we should rule out ecclesiastical readings of the text. To do so would again be to come to the text with an a priori agenda. Rather the first task of the interpreter is to allow the text to speak for itself, as far as this is possible and while recognizing that the interpreter’s assumptions and world view will always play a role in the act of interpretation, even when the interpreter attempts to allow the text to speak for itself.

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