Earlier this year, the Dutch Adventist church asked me to write a short booklet on biblical hermeneutics in Dutch. It was meant to be about 6000 words, easy to understand for any member, that will be distributed in Holland: one for each household. The timeframe was ridiculously short: writing, designing, printing and distributing within three weeks! But, we made the deadline (with thanks to my team of editors and designers) and the booklet was distributed at the Union Session on January 31. A couple of months later the booklet is also available in English.
As I wrote earlier this year:
Once again I had to tackle a hot topic. At the GC Session this year a request was made to start a biblical hermeneutics study committee. Personally, I think it was a useless request. We already have a document on that topic voted, that many disagree with. Also, as we saw with the Theology of Ordination Study Committee, much time is spent on travel and research, and very little is achieved.
It’s called Doyouunderstandwhatyouarereading? which is what Philip asks the Ethiopic eunuch in Acts 8.30. Printing the question as Doyouunderstandwhatyouarereading? already shows how reading and interpreting is not a given, and was a useful way to introduce a religious audience the the topic.
The contents themselves are quite tame, focussing more on traditional hermeneutics and ignoring more postmodern topics like intentional fallacy (which is hardly pomo, but hey). We do tackle some exciting hermeneutical topics such a slavery, and is full of diagrams to illustrate key hermeneutical topics. It’s a good start for a beginner and, as Heidegger might put it, be a good way to enter the hermeneutical circle.