The unity and truth of Scripture
The second of the three ‘overarching principles of hermeneutics’ listed in Michael Cooper’s essay makes the claim that ‘Scripture is God-breathed and true in all its parts’ and that, therefore, ‘the unity of its teachings must be sought’. My question is: Do we really need to make this sort of unsupported assertion? Is not an inductive hermeneutic more suited to a postmodern theology – ie., we accept that the truthfulness and coherence of biblical teaching can only ever be ‘emergent’ qualities, the product of investigation rather than the presupposition. I don’t see how we can honestly make the Bible any more or less true by our theorizing.
There is a big step of intellectual humility involved in this but also a step of faith: we do not impose truthfulness on the Bible, we allow it to demonstrate its intrinsic truthfulness and worth to us. Should not a postmodern hermeneutic always be reaching across the space between distrust and certainty – a straining for truth? Would this not also allow us to locate truth in the dynamic reading of the biblical narrative rather than in a set of abstracted generalizations?