Biblical Authority and the Ethics of Biblical Interpretation
All biblical interpretations, including traditional ones, “pick and choose” texts and meanings according to the particularity of the interpreter. The dominant interpreters have failed to acknowledge their particularity as the “mythical norm” (the white, affluent, heterosexual male head of a nuclear family). As a result, that norm has become equated with “authoritative” interpretations and those who fall outside that norm have been harmed. A responsible ethics of biblical interpretation must reject a model of “authority as domination” in favor of “authority as partnership.” In a genuinely self‐critical biblical interpretation, (1) the particularity of the dominant, traditional interpreters will be recognized as particular and not imposed on others by colonialist means; (2) readers will take responsibility to consider the actual consequences of their interpretations on others; (3) readers will honestly reflect not only on how meaning is derived from Scripture, but why one of several candidate meanings is chosen.
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