Monday, May 21, 2007

Relational Ethics Part 9

The Synthetic Task
Hays implores us to believe that “the task of discerning some coherence in the canon is both necessary and possible.” By discerning a common coherence we move from the descriptive task to the synthetic task. Hays suggests that “no single principle can account for the unity of the New Testament writings”, but rather we should rely on three focal images that provide the interpretive framework “that links and illumines the individual writings.” Community, cross, and new creation are the three focal images Hays suggests. With the addition of binding love, these focal images seem more than adequate to aid in the synthetic, interpretive task.

The Hermeneutical Task
After moving through the descriptive and synthetic tasks we come to the hermeneutical task. This task forces us to begin to relate the text to our situation. Needless to say, this task can be daunting at times. “How do we appropriate the New Testament’s message as a word addressed to us?” Imagination is the key to unlocking this Pandora’s Box. “Whenever we appeal to the authority of the New Testament, we are necessarily engaged in metaphor-making, placing our community’s life imaginatively within the world articulated by the texts.” Our goal is to work out “a life of faithfulness to God through responsive and creative reappropriation of the New Testament in a world far removed from the world of the original writers and readers.”

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