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By Ferdinand Deist

Scholarly discussions of biblical interpretation frequently forget about the truth that language and literature shape an essential component of a people's tradition, that interpretation for this reason implies the full cultural approach of the proper literature, and that biblical interpretation as a result implies inter-cultural conversation. This ebook explores the theoretical and sensible implications of this statement from a cultural anthropological viewpoint, seems to be at fresh anthropological experiences of old Israelite society, provides sensible examples of a cultural interpretation of historic Hebrew narratives, and discusses the effect of the notions 'cultural relativity' and 'inter-cultural verbal exchange' for biblical interpretation.

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For this reason, adequate interpretation of an object of this kind requires us constantly to look beyond the work in two different directions: first, to the specific intentional act by which meaning was conferred upon the work by its author, and second, to the larger (but still historically specific) context of intersubjective meanings which that intentional act reflected and also presupposed. Viewed from this perspective successful communication also implies the cultural complex of which a text and its language formed a part.

Lee (1990) presents the following graphical comparison between Psalm 105 and Genesis 1: Day Genesis 1 Psalm 105 1+4 Heaven Light + luminaries (Sun, Moon, Stars) Darkness (v. 28a) It became dark (v. 28b) 2+5 Waters Water separated + Life populates water Waters turned into blood (v. 29a) Fish in water died (v. 29b) 3+6 Earth (a) Dry land made + Living creatures according to their kinds (b) Vegetation multiplies + Man was created (a) Land swarmed with frogs, flies and gnats (vv. 30-31) (b) Vegetation destroyed (vv.

Of crucial importance in a confrontation with a foreign culture is the relationship developed between the own and the foreign in the process of observing and learning. It is this relationship that has the potential of making one's own culture 'visible' and opens up a way for critiquing its complacency and selfevidencies. Although made in a somewhat different context, two remarks by Robert Carroll (1991: 124,147) may neatly sum up this section. It must be said that reading is a dangerous thing. It can harm your physical health.

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