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The Hermeneutics Quiz

4th April 2008

This may be old news (aghast, it’s from the end of February!), but a friend let me know of an interesting “Hermeneutics Quiz” that Scot McKnight, of Jesus Creed fame, put together for Leadership Journal.net.

I scored an 81 on the quiz, which means I’m a “progressive” on “The Hermeneutics Scale.” This is how McKnight defined the progressive (which includes those who scored between 66 and 100; so I guess I am a moderate progressive):

The progressive is not always progressive. Those who score 66 or more can be seen as leaning toward the progressive side, but the difference between at 66 and 92 is dramatic. Still, the progressive tends to see the Bible as historically shaped and culturally conditioned, and yet most still consider it the Word of God for today. Following a progressive hermeneutic, for the Word to speak in our day, one must interpret what the Bible said in its day and discern its pattern for revelation in order to apply it to our world. The strength, as with the moderate but even more so, is the challenge to examine what the Bible said in its day, and this means the progressives tend to be historians. But the problems for the progressives are predictable: Will the Bible’s so-called “plain meaning” be given its due and authoritative force to challenge our world? Or will the Bible be swallowed by a quest to find modern analogies that sometimes minimize what the text clearly says?

I’m not sure how much I see myself in McKnight’s description, but I encourage you to take the quiz and see where you are at.


9 Responses to “The Hermeneutics Quiz”

  1. mike Says:

    Tyler, out of curiosity, based on McKnight’s description, where would you place yourself?

  2. Tyler F. Williams Says:

    I guess I would see myself as progressive, since my hermeneutics have been shaped by the likes of Gadamer. I think that McKnight’s description of progressives is a bit old-fashioned (not sure if that is the best word) in that I believe all meaning comes with a fusion of horizons and the one safeguard in interpretation is to understand the horizon of the text. There is no “plain meaning” that just transfers to our horizon and interpretation is not a matter of finding “modern analogies” etc. Does that make sense?

  3. Think Wink. » My Hermeneutical Score Says:

    [...] Tyler F. Williams Related posts:My Millennial Views Pt. 2: Reading the Bible.“This [...]

  4. Interpretting Hermeneutics « Ketuvim: the Writings of James R. Getz Jr. Says:

    [...] (HT: Tyler Williams) [...]

  5. Scot McKnight Says:

    Tyler,

    I had four people in mind as I wrote these questions … you can guess the names if you’d like but I won’t say who they were … and I tried to answer each question as I thought they would. There are still plenty of folks who believe in the “plain” meaning of the text. Don’t you think?

  6. Henry Kirsch Says:

    Hi Tyler.
    I scored in the range of a “Moderate Hermeneutic.” I thought the assessment was quite accurate in describing my perspective, being open-minded and reasonable. I agree that I am progressive on some issues and conservative on others, but wonder if that is due to my post-modern bent. I gravitate toward discussion rather than the boundaries of dogma. Perhaps this is also because I like struggling theologically. This struggle makes my convictions more satisfying.

    Henry

  7. mayfly » Blog Archive » Is there a grade curve? Says:

    [...] I took the Hermeneutics Quiz found in the online  Leadership Journal (after being pointed there by Tyler Williams).  Leadership Journal is part of the Christianity Today family of publications. My score is 80.  [...]

  8. Ken Says:

    In several cases, I didn’t like the possible options available as I felt none really applied. That being said, I scored a moderate hermeneutic, which I suppose accurately describes my tendencies.

  9. Fr. Deacon Gregory Says:

    I scored a 71. I don’recognize myself in the description of me. Perhaps because the questions asked and answers offered seemed to be given from a different perspective than my own. For one thing, I don’t necessarily see Scripture as having one possible meaning but am an adherent of he “fourfold sense of Scripture” so to speak. I also don’t see Scripture as an end in itself, but as the means to an end – I mean Jesus Christ is interpreted by means of Scripture so that the subject of our exegesis is first and foremost Jesus Christ not Scripture in and of itself. I suppose there are various ways of reading Scripture but this one (and I owe this pov to Fr. John Behr) seems to be the one practiced by Christians even from NT times onwards.

    Dn. Gregory