Technology, Hermeneutics, and the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus
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Hermeneutics is the work of Hermes, the Greek demigod, a messenger from the gods and from the dead. Simon Perry sets out to explore the contemporary face of Hermes through a reading of Jesus’ parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19–31). This parable has one distinguishing feature that marks it out from other ancient stories following the same basic storyline: that a visitor from the dead is not granted leave to return with a message to the land of the living. In order for Scripture to be heard, Hermes is not necessary.
Where does this leave the role of hermeneutics? Perry looks to philosophers, ethicists, and theologians for an answer.
“In this thought-provoking analysis, Simon Perry submits the work of biblical interpreters such as Bultmann, Fish, and Derrida to critical scrutiny, and finds them all wanting. The underlying problem, he suggests, is that they all rely on technology—i.e., they make use of scripture, rather than allowing themselves to be transformed by it. Since the great transformative event is the resurrection, Dr. Perry explores other approaches which begin from the reader’s readiness to be transformed by the God encountered in scripture . . . demonstrating just how fruitful it can be to abandon one’s presuppositions regarding the ‘meaning’ of the text, in order to allow it to confront us and to transform us.”
Lady Margaret's Professor of Divinity Emerita
University of Cambridge
“Exploding biblical hermeneutics from within, Simon Perry shows us why reading Scripture is best understood as an engagement with a God who claims lives entire. Rigorously engaging the whole sweep of modern hermeneutical philosophy, this book shows how serious biblical theology must finally transmute into theology proper, and of the highest order.”
—Brian R. Brock
Lecturer in Moral and Practical Theology
King's College, University of Aberdeen
“Simon Perry offers a sustained and strong account of the difference that the resurrection of Jesus Christ makes to theological hermeneutics. Biblical interpretation and the practice of discipleship, the world of the text and the real world of human striving and suffering, are inextricably linked in Perry's vision of the interpretative task. Elegantly structured and demanding both intellectually and existentially, Perry's work offers a new voice into the conversation about biblical interpretation today.”
—Sean F. Winter
Professor of New Testament
United Faculty of Theology, Uniting Church Theological College
MCD University of Divinity