Modern Linguistics Versus Traditional Hermeneutics

Robert L. Thomas | May 19, 2010

An emerging field of study among evangelicals goes by the name modern linguistics. Its terminology, self-appraisal, approach to language analysis, and relationship to traditional exegesis furnish an introduction to a comparison with grammatical-historical hermeneutics. Indispensable to an analysis of modern linguistics is a grasping of its preunderstanding and its placing of the language of the Bible into the same category as all human languages and its integration with other secular disciplines and the effect that preunderstanding has on its interpretation of the biblical text. Its conflicts with grammatical-historical principles include a questioning of the uniqueness of the biblical languages, its differing in the handling of lexical and grammatical elements of the text, its differing in regard to the importance of authorial intention, its lessening of precision in inter- pretation, its elevating of the primacy of discourse, its elevating of the impact of stylistic considerations, and a questioning of the feasibility of understanding the text in a literal way. Such contrasts mark the wide divergence of modern linguistics from traditional grammatical-historical interpretation.

Vol. 14, no. 1 (Spring 2003)

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Thomas, Robert L.. "Modern Linguistics Versus Traditional Hermeneutics." The Master's Seminary Journal 14, no. 1 (Spring 2003): 23-45.