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December 02, 2009

Comments

Derek Rishmawy

What's interesting to think about is how much Segal's own social location has affected the way he reads the way these communities read the text; how much the particular sociological forces at work in the current intellectual paradigms have informed his analysis of their analysis.

Mike

What are the "particular sociological forces at work in the current intellectual paradigms" and how do you see them informing his analysis? Don't know if I'm following you...

Derek Rishmawy

Well, simply that seeing the main sources of the differences in interpretations of these various sects as the result of differing sociological positions is a typically Western, Enlightenment/post-Enlightenment, Academic way of looking at things. I'm talking about the fact that this kind of understanding of the situation and the debates over interpretation is not the analysis that say, one of these sects would have given for why one of the other groups read the texts differently. They probably wouldn't have given a sociological reason. They likely would have given a theological reason, or a methodological one. Basically, this kind of analysis of history, hermeneutics, etc. is a socially located one as well. People in another century or local would not likely interpret the differences with these categories.

Bobby Gee

After reading your in SF Daily Devotional December 15, 2009 I decided to check out your blog. I subscribe to the SF daily devotional. I think you might like some of the things I wrote. So when you get a moment please check them out. You might like this article www.associatedcontent.com/article/1996786/church_its_time_to_wake_up.html
I have many more like this at Bobby Gee associated content page.

Bobby Gee

After reading your in SF Daily Devotional December 15, 2009 I decided to check out your blog. I subscribe to the SF daily devotional. I think you might like some of the things I wrote. So when you get a moment please check them out. You might like this article www.associatedcontent.com/article/1996786/church_its_time_to_wake_up.html
I have many more like this at Bobby Gee associated content page.

Scott

Aw ... it has been so long since I have been on this blog. Derek, I think I know where you are going but I would fine-tune it a bit.

Regardless if the first century Jewish sects were aware of the sociological factors that affected their interpretation (which my guess is you are correct, they probably didn't), the fact remains that they were still influenced. And I think most of us would agree with that.

Example: Zealots read their scriptures and looked at Jewish scriputures with the philosophical assumption (based on the social-political context) that "Hey, we need to get our land back from the Romans!" I think certain Christian groups in the mid twentieth century would have had their interpretations (and theological/philosophical viewpoints) affected if say the nazi's were occupying our American streets.

So with that said, I think what you were really getting as is whether scholars like Segal have certain "sociological" factors too that affects their own interpretations (even if that is an interpretation of someone else's interpretation)?

And I think that has to be the case. I think Segal would admit that his own viewpoint and understanding is partly shaped by his own social-historical context.

The real question is whether that helps one getting closer or further from seeing reality as it is. And I really think it could go either way.

I think the biggest pro of being a 21st century scholar is we have more information, more data, more tools, and so on, than at any other point in the history of the world.

One possible con that NT Wright points out is the methodological naturalism (note: I am careful to not say strict physicalism) that has pervaded NT scholarship since Bultmann. Not saying Segal is influenced by this, but it is something that all contemporary scholars--who are not in really conservative universities--will be constantly immersed with. I remember Bill Craig debating Ludemann saying that a lot of the naturalistic assumptions are more of a sociological attitude/environment, more than it is hard thought out philosohical beliefs based on logical reasoning.

What do you guys think?

Mike

Scott, completely agree. I didn't hear Segal saying that the Second Temple Jewish sects were "aware" of the socio-political underpinnings of their interpretative ventures, but that they were indeed a fact. How they saw the world around them did influence the way they saw and understood the texts

In posting this quote, my point was exactly the point you made. Namely, that we do the same [and that we should strive to be as "aware" as possible of that influence as well.]

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