Bowing to the Golden Calf

That was a tidy way to be dispatched, Phil. A mere wave of the hand.

What is knowable from the sense-based realm.

Do you really want to go there, Jan?

It gets unmanageably postmoderny…

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I find it a very encouraging development, really.

It’s like a giant prism, where one can examine an issue from many different points of view and hue, and synthesize yeasty new ideas therefrom.

Unless you think your modern point of view is somehow privileged, Jan, I might be making a valid point.

Or it might be gadfly blather. Whatever.

But I assume you used a hermeneutic of one sort or another, obviously more broad than Phil’s admirably universal one, in order to dismis Phil with a “strategic recommendation.”

Sometime I’d like to hear you and Phil discuss hermeneutics. That would be really interesting.

I promise to be still and listen.

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Postformal Thought:

Epistemology is a study that resides under the umbrella of hermeneutics. So yes, I need to spend more time studying epistemology and everything else that is under this umbrella, including linguistics, psychology, sociology, history, anthropology, literary criticism, theology, law, etc. (Although I am like you a lawyer, I had to beef up my understanding of law’s contribution to hermeneutics long after I left law school). The reason that epistemology is subordinate to hermeneutics is that knowing things and understanding how we know things does not satisfy our needs if we do not know what those things mean.

The interesting question is what mode of reasoning is best in comprehending origins, which is not only a scientific matter but a historical and supernatural event.

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Yes, the hermeneutics of which I speak is to hermeneutica sacra what chess is to tic-tac-toe.

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Maybe the Enlightenment itself is our Golden Calf?

Postmodernism cuts both ways, decimating our steely religious and scientific certainty.

It is a necessary “controlled burn” allowing the Cedars of Lebanon of our hearts and minds to grow stately by the Rivers of Water.

Okay…leaving it to you Titans now…

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A murmuration of starlings…decimating our steely religious and scientific certainty…

With Pachelbel Canon

I agree with you that hermeneutics, or what also might be called interpretation, is a key issue in theology. However, it is rather hermeneutics that is under the umbrellla of epistemology, than the other way around. The ‘how’ of knowledge is always prior to the ‘what’ of knowledge.

Epistemology is a mere branch of philosophy. You think that hermeneutics is subsidiary to a branch of philosophy? No one who has written on hermeneutics thinks so. It is laughable to think that Gadamer perceived that his writings were merely contributory to our understanding of epistemology. If that is the case, then why does he draw from all of the human sciences, not just philosophy (including epistemology) but also history, psychology, theology, the classics, linguistics, literary criticism, etc.?

Since Schleiermacher, hermeneutics is no longer simply a methodology that is auxiliary to theology. Instead, hermeneutics has become a multi-disciplinary approach to interpretation and understanding. Therefore, all of the human sciences, including philosophy and the branch of philosophy we know as epistemology, reside under the umbrella of hermeneutics.

If an idea agrees with your staid theological views, then it’s present truth.

If an idea threatens your theological views, then it’s heresy and must be fought.

This includes topics like scientific discoveries, modern biblical research, medical research, and so on.

I find it ironic that while the entire medical arm of the Adventist church relies on science that is based squarely on evolutionary biology, and in many cases quietly promotes and even conducts this type of research, many members accept these medical practices with little thought while vehemently denying their basis - even to the point of denying this is actually what they are doing.


Rather than Present Truth the Montra should be Eternal Truth. God is—The same yesterday, today, tomorrow and forever. That is why the Scripture always refer to the Everlasting Gospel. That is why Christ is said to have been slain from the foundation of the earth. Moreover, that Gospel is available to all mankind. Nor is anyone denied to right to tell of that gift. The shepherds, fishermen, taxcolletors, The host at the Triumphal entry. The thief on the Cross, The centurion at the foot of the Cross. To deny anyone from such a mission is for a truth the antichrist.


@Cassie i have often remarked that this is the one-ness Jesus prayed for. Not a sometimes irreconcilable external “2 are 1” unity, but rather an internal one.

How does one deal with the dissonance between the letter and the spirit is perhaps a very telling question. We are all on that journey-some at different points in th continuum, some in different states of conditioning/training …


Phil, my point is that epistemology, as a meta-perspective, is philosophy’s main concern: how is knowledge possible? What is valid knowledge vs. mere opinions? What are the limits of knowledge?, etc. Hermeneutics developed as a method for interpreting texts, especially biblical and legal texts. With Dilthy and Gadamer its scope has expanded to include, among other things, how our prejudices, preunderstandings an historicity serve as basic premises for textual interpretations/understanding. But hermeneutics will always have epistemology as its watch-dog. The hermeneutic circle cannot be detached from the meta-perspectives of epistemology, without collapsing in solitude.

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Yes. And “one” can never think alone.

The problem is that Western culture becomes obsessed with a calculatable,
regulatable, mathematic grasp on certainty.

—Jessica Frazier, University of Kent

Well where is priority and exclusivity in eternal truth. Now Present truth that is a marketing term of marketing terms. It is rather funny Adventist Today just announced their special gathering for next year and the announcement uses the term present truth. No reason it could not have said the truth of God’s love or the everlasting truth of God’s love, but for some reason Adventists have the golden calf of present truth and it seems awfully hard to get rid of. Here is the quote:

“Imagine a beautiful Fall weekend for a whole new kind of camp meeting … a generous gathering that reimagines the Adventist narrative to fully embrace the reassuring, present truth of God’s love and grace … a conversation that isn’t a time to argue and debate or talk insider baseball about church policy … a fresh kind of fellowship where we are encouraged by uplifting music, presentations and art blending beautifully as we worship and spend time getting to know each other … a reminder that there is reconciliation in Jesus,” says the announcement.

Sounds like The One Project. Great announcement.

Not everyone believes “present truth” = a sinister golden calf.

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The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

Jeremiah (?) didn’t have to talk about mercies being “new” every morning.

He could have just said “everlasting mercies.”

Anyway, a number of Bible versions use the term present truth:

Why wouldn’t we expect to advance in our conceptions of Truth as we “follow after,” while never considering that we have “attained?”

No need to “get rid of” a meaningful phrase that points to spiritual process,

Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.


Yes, the King James uses it…incorrectly!
" Berean Literal Bible
Therefore I will be ready always to remind you concerning these things, though knowing them and having been strengthened in the truth being present in you .

New American Standard Bible
Therefore, I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you.

King James Bible
Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them , and be established in the present truth.

Christian Standard Bible
Therefore I will always remind you about these things, even though you know them and are established in the truth you now have.

Contemporary English Version
You are holding firmly to the truth you were given. But I am still going to remind you of these things.

Good News Translation
And so I will always remind you of these matters, even though you already know them and are firmly grounded in the truth you have received."

I’m no Bible scholar, but it says “present participle.”


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