Contesting Claims and Divine Inscrutability in 2 Samuel 16: 5-14
1. “Confession Is Good for the Soul”: Owning Up to Methodological and Theological Assumptions
Owning Up to Methodological and Theological Assumptions
Reading biblical texts in the 21st century has been rendered far more problematic than anyone would have guessed half a century ago. The optimism of biblical scholars regarding the methods employed by such figures as Gunkel and Wellhausen in the late 19th and early 20th centuries pointed to great advances in our understanding of the world of the text and the development of methods that would compel the scripture to give up its secrets.1 Indeed, for much of the past century that optimism remained intact, as researchers pushed these methods to their limits and then devised new ones to pick up where the others had left off. Since the 1960s, however, we have witnessed a dramatic and productive change in the way biblical scholars understand their task, as the philosophical presuppositions of historical criticism have been increasingly undermined as the sole or even the primary object of biblical interpretation. This change is most evident in what many who study scripture within the academy are seeking to uncover: rather than trying to answer the former question of “What really happened?” they frequently seek instead now to answer the question “How is meaning produced by this text (as it stands)?”2 So while there is no longer a univocal view within the academy of how one ought to read a text, thus removing the historical questions from their former position of dominance within the field, the application of newer methodological approaches has created...
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