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How does one limit a biblical text? Can one limit it? Should one? These questions drive one to examine core assumptions of biblical interpretation, assumptions about the aims and attitudes one brings to the task of reading the Bible. Is the aim of biblical exegesis to uncover what really happened, to discover the author’s intentions, to attend to the interpretations of readers—ancient and/or contemporary? Furthermore, should the interpreter approach biblical texts from a position of neutrality, suspicion, and/or faith?
Strahan’s book aims to offer a (not the) set of answers to these questions by bringing historiographical theory, hermeneutical theory, and theology into conversation, a conversation centered around a case study that deals with limiting the meaning(s) of an enigmatic Gospel text: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34a). Borrowing insight from Augustine’s De Doctrina Christiana, this book offers a renewed, ecclesially located strategy for dealing with polysemy in biblical texts, a strategy that holds together many of the strengths offered by contemporary theological interpreters.
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