Hermeneutics

Dictionary.com

noun (used with a singular verb)
  1. the science of interpretation, especially of the Scriptures.
  2. the branch of theology that deals with the principles of Biblical exegesis.

Etymonline.com

“art of interpretation, the study of exegesis,” 1737, from hermeneutic; also see -ics.

“interpretive,” 1670s, from Latinized form of Greek hermeneutikos “of or for interpreting,” from hermeneutes “interpreter,” from hermeneuein “to interpret (foreign languages); interpret into words, give utterance to,” a word of unknown origin (formerly considered ultimately a derivative of Hermes, as the tutelary divinity of speech, writing, and eloquence).


Discussion/Explanation

From the above, we can see that hermeneutics is a key area of study within exegetical theology.

Differing hermeneutical approaches are clearly seen when dealing with topics such as the end times. One interpreter may take a more literal interpretation whereas another a more figurative approach.

Other key components of interpretation include interpreting texts in their historical setting, considering the grammar used, and in the surrounding context of the text.

Failing to consider such things has lead various people over the years into all sorts of conflicting beliefs and even heresy. This is not to say there cannot be legitimate conflicting views on how to interpret a particular text (as seen above) but such differences still end up having more in common because of applying an overall consistent hermeneutic. Those who fall into heresy tend to insist on their own view rather than what makes sense &/or flat out ignore other areas of Scripture that they should have considered before standing on their chosen view.


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Torah & Pentateuch

Dictionary.com

Torah

noun, ( sometimes lowercase)

1. the Pentateuch, being the first of the three Jewish divisions of the OldTestament.Compare Tanach.

2. a parchment scroll on which the Pentateuch is written, used in synagogue services.
3. the entire body of Jewish religious literature, law, and teaching as contained chiefly in the Old Testament and the Talmud.
4. law or instruction.

Etymonline.com

Torah

“the Pentateuch,” 1570s, from Hebrew torah, literally “instruction, law,” verbal noun from horah “he taught, showed.”

Pentateuch

first five books of the Bible, c. 1400, from Late Latin pentateuchus (Tertullian, c.207), from Greek pentateukhos (c. 160), originally an adjective (abstracted from phrase pentateukhos biblos), from pente “five” (from PIE root *penkwe- “five”) + teukhos “implement, vessel, gear” (in Late Greek “book,” via notion of “case for scrolls”), literally “anything produced,” related to teukhein “to make ready,” from PIE *dheugh- “to produce something of utility” (see doughty). Glossed in Old English as fifbec.


Discussion/Explanation

In this week’s post, things are easily defined. The Torah is the Hebrew term for what is also called the Pentateuch (Greek/Latin). In other words, they are two names from different languages for the exact same thing. You will also hear it called “The Law” in English as this is a translation of the Hebrew term.

Personally, I find both terms helpful. Torah = the law which is very telling of the content contained within. Also, to call it the Pentateuch is helpful as Penta means 5 as is seen above in the etymonline entry. There are 5 books in the Pentateuch/Torah which include Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy which are the first 5 books of the Old Testament section of the Bible.

That’s all there is to it. Of course, there are other names for other sections of the Bible but that’s out of the scope of this post. Look’em up if you’re curious!

 


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