Fundamentalism is a broad runing term which has imbibed a wide spectrum of understanding in the present context. Fundamentalism in general holds on to certain foundational facets which are considered as basicss to the given community. Fundamentalism is exhibited in several ways in the signifier of different sorts of fundamentalism. Fundamentalism besides exists in varied degrees such as aggressive or mild fundamentalism. They are characterized by an aggressive and hawkish attitude in continuing their basicss. Despite the complexness and the concentration in the individuality of the fundamentalists, this paper focuses in scriptural fundamentalism and its reading in the visible radiation of the postmodern challenges ; and its impact on the undertaking of Old Testament divinity. By looking at the fundamentalist reading of the Bible from a postmodern position, an effort is besides made to convey some suggestions in the undertaking of Old Testament divinity.


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Biblical Fundamentalism “ represents a biblicistic combativeness purpose on deracinating renunciation within the church and countering secularism without, ” in the context and modernism. George Marsden, Cohen, and Jerry Falwell besides characterize fundamentalism as a hawkish motion opposing the onslaught of modernness on traditional Christian religion. Scaria Kuthirakkattel observes this combativeness as even exhibiting “ strong aggressive inclinations against people of other religions. ” Isaac Padinjarekuttu defines fundamentalism as affecting “ the renewal of authorization over a sacred tradition. ” Donald G. Bloesch observes the separating Markss of scriptural fundamentalism as: scriptural literalism ; entire inerrancy, perfect factual truth, a profound misgiving of scriptural unfavorable judgment, premillennial eschatology, and the call to divide from apostate churches. Vern S. Poythress reexamining the history of reading during the aftermath of modernness and historical unfavorable judgment observes two tendencies ; one following the critical method and the other adhering to the church tradition. He states the fundamentalist held to the “ full authorization of the bible ” but “ denied the profitableness of scholarly contemplation. ” J. I. Packer identifies the fundamentalist as the guardians of Christian religion against liberalism in scriptural reading. Associating to its impact on scriptural divinity, B. S. Childs observes that, as historical critical school was ruling scriptural divinity, “ a minority voice began to talk for a theological exegesis that would make justness to Bible ‘s confessional content. ”


A.K. M. Adam mentioning the talk of Cornel West on “ Post Modernism ” brings three of import features of Postmodernism viz. “ antifoundational ; antitotalizing ; and demystifying. ” He states,

“ Postmodernism is antifoundational in that it resolutely refuses to situate any one premiss as the privileged and impregnable get downing point for set uping claims to truth. It is antitotalizing because postmodern discourse suspects that any theory that claims to account for everything is stamp downing counter illustrations, or is using warped standards so that it can include fractious instances. Postmodernism is besides demystifying: it attends to claims that certain premises are ‘natural ‘ and attempts to demo that these are in fact ideological projections. ”

Postmodernism challenges the “ traditional readings that claim catholicity, completeness, and domination over other readings. ” “ Postmodern unfavorable judgment can non accept any system of cognition as absolute or foundational ; it can non accept the premiss that some organic structure of cognition, or topic of cognition, constitutes a incorporate entirety ; and it can non accept perplexing claims that any rational discourse is disinterested and pure. Post-modernity acknowledges “ diverseness of beliefs, theories, moralss and ethnicity ” and enumerates a subjective thought over against objectivism. Postmodernism stress on relativism and Perspectivalism which is a development of subjective thought.


Biblical Literalism

Joseph A. Fitzmyer provinces, “ Fundamentalist reading starts from the rule that the Bible, being the word of God, inspired and free from mistake, should be read and interpreted literally in all its inside informations. ” Conrad Hyers says, “ scriptural literalism portions so mostly in the reductionist and literalist spirit of the age. ” Bloesch critiques it “ to be a sort of reductionism, ” by cut downing the “ truth to facticity and disclosure to conceptualization or logic. ” John Shelby Spong provinces, “ If Bible continues to be viewed literally, the Bible, in my sentiment, is doomed to be cast aside as both dated and irrelevant. ” The accent on scriptural literalism besides prevented the scientific survey of the text.

Confessional Biblical Interpretation

Fundamentalist reading of the Scripture is “ glossed by creedal, confessional, and catechetical beliefs. ” Binz provinces, “ aˆ¦ , fundamentalism is characterized by a stiff, dogmatic, sturdy, and frequently uneducated attachment to outdated positions in scriptural reading. ” Froehlich negotiations of a “ hermeneutics of understanding, ” which is conditioned to the exegetical tradition of the church. David H. Wenkel characterizes the fundamentalist reading as autocratic on the land that it propagates “ the authorization of a human leader or leaders who so identify themselves with a civil order that they justify from the sacred text that any challenge to their authorization can be treated as a challenge to the authorization of the text. ” Hence Greg Clark remarks, “ the Protestant scriptural hermeneutic was at mistake ” as it portrayed the priests “ exhibiting their ain sentiments as God ‘s bids. ” Sponge restricts “ any individual or school or establishment from claiming sole authorization or conclusiveness for its reading of Scripture and the ordination of society implied in that reading. ”

Bible and Biblical Interpretation as Ahistorical

The fundamentalist attack to scriptural reading rejects the “ usage of historical-critical method ” or “ any other scientific method for the reading of Bible. ” The fundamentalists critiqued the modern critical attacks to the Bible as holding treated the bible as any other literature and for disregarding its supernatural facet. The Bible is regarded as timeless and ahistorical. In fundamentalist hermeneutics “ the readers are viewed as ahistorical and contextlessaˆ¦ topics. ” W. Taylor Stevenson while reexamining John Shelby Spong agrees with him saying, “ Fundamentalism in its strict or ‘hard ‘ signifier believes that there are facts which exist independently of any perceiver. ” Kevin Vanhoozer criticizes the fundamentalist for restricting the text to “ historical mention. ” But for a postmodernist any reading of the Scripture is historical and is conditional to the context of the reader. Richard Lints, “ asserts that fundamentalists reject the thought that the reader ‘s skyline is different from the skyline of the original listeners or the original context. ”

Epistemologcal Certainty

David H. Wenkel characterizes fundamentalist reading “ by an baseless epistemic certainty and naivete . ” The fundamentalists profess for an unconditioned certainty for the reading of the Bible that is defined by the traditions of the Church. U. Fick remarks fundamentalism to be “ blind to the historical beginnings and the specific kerugma of the many parts of the Bible and claim that there is no difference in accentuation, no mention to and dependence on assorted historical contexts and cultural forms, no displacements of accent, no difference in importance, no tenseness between assorted divinities in the Bible. ”


The postmodern reading of the Bible gives rise to certain issues and methodological concerns as it encounters the challenges of fundamentalism towards scriptural reading and scriptural divinity. Sing any theological preparation of the scriptural text Elmer A. Martens remarks that they are a “ concept, or a theoretical account, ” which is capable to alter… ” and this alteration owe to the passage and displacement in the civilization and the context in the last few centuries or decennaries over the reading of the text. This is apparent in the passage from the dogmatic attack towards divinity to a scriptural divinity proposed by Philip Gabler under the influence of Enlightenment and rationalism. After his period, another displacement emerged with the developments of Ollenburger, J. C. K. von Hoffmann, who emphasised on history or Heilsgeschichte in explicating Old Testament divinity. Later get downing with W. Eichrodt, a new attack began in Old Testament divinity which focused on a focal point or a cardinal subject in the text. Subsequently with the rise of sociological attacks, even societal location had influenced scriptural hermeneutics and theological preparations. Hence scriptural divinity can be understood as non of being inactive but instead as dynamic and transforming. Rolf Rendtorff detecting the turning atomization and diverseness in Old Testament surveies propose pluralism in methodological analysis in making Old Testament surveies.

Method or Method ( s )

In postmodern scriptural divinity, there is an absence of any arbitrary methods. “ Methods… exercising power in the interpretative procedure, determining what is possible in reading, both in footings of what the texts are allowed to intend and over the paths translators may take through the stuff. ” The fundamentalists being driven by the dogmatic restrains in the undertaking of theological preparation are controlled and conditioned by the regulations of scriptural reading entailed by the church traditions and the dogmatic foundations. The undertaking of Old Testament divinity from a postmodern position acknowledges a methodological pluralism alternatively of any methodological analysis dominating or viing the other.

The Demise of Metanarratives

Postmodernism rejects all metanarratives. Adam cites Francois Lyotard who defined postmodernism “ as disbelief toward metanarratives. ” The disbelief owes to the difference in the context of the translators of the metanarratives. A expansive narrative developed in 1s ‘ context can non be universally applied. The postmodern hermeneutics transform the scriptural text “ in the local ways we understand ourselves in relation to modernness and to modern-day civilization and history, the societal and personal dimensions of that consciousness, and the ethical and political responses that it generates. ” Postmodernism emphasizes the “ socially constructed character of cognition and the assorted agencies of its production. ” The absolutizing and totalising attitude is challenged by the postmodern reader who derives and gives new significance to the text. In Old Testament divinity there was besides a tendency to look at the Centre or the focal point of the Old Testament, largely influenced by the confessional divinity which characterize as the metanarrative. The rise of varied Centre by different Old Testament theologians by itself expresses the fluidness of metanarratives.

The Precedence of the Reader

The modernist “ stress the reader ‘s direct battle with the text and the liberty of the text ” while the “ postmodern critics are inclined to recognize much more complexness in the interaction of text and reader. ” Sing postmodern scriptural hermeneutics Adam provinces, “ the text would non be an independent object of contemplation, but would be shown with representatives of assorted interpretative interestsaˆ¦ . ” In postmodern hermeneutics “ there is neither a incorporate, totalized reader, nor a incorporate, independent text, ” and so there is no more an “ writer. ” Therefore Adams characterizes postmodern reading as an unauthorised hermeneutics. The postmodern reading characterized by its subjectiveness allows the reader to understand the text in his/her ain cultural surroundings, provided “ any significance proposedaˆ¦ would be ever probationary, limited, and contextual. ”

Theology as Pluralistic and Relative

Craig Bartholomew provinces, “ The Bible is a common cultural object and scriptural reading must do room for the spiritual and ideological plurality of our societies. ” Furthermore, in the context of a methodological pluralism or the multiple possibilities of attacks, an nonsubjective reading of the text would be impossible. The pluralist attack recognizes that all reading is contextual and cultural. D. J. A. Clines accepts the worlds of the pluralist context of the scriptural text by indicating to the indefiniteness of the significance of the scriptural texts and by acknowledging the assorted interpretive communities. The fundamentalist insisting on the determinacy of the significance of the scriptural text proposes for an nonsubjective reading than a subjective reading which values the contextual difference in the reader. The undertaking of Old Testament divinity can non be restricted to such objectiveness since that would control the significance of the text to the reader. Rolf P. Knierim detecting the diverseness in the Old Testament text acknowledge a “ plurality of divinities ” in the Old Testament.


Deconstruction is one of the important methodological analysiss of postmodern scriptural hermeneutics which explores the multiple aspects of the scriptural text and its reading. Clines provinces, “ Deconstruction is an particularly powerful tool in scriptural survey, in that it relativizes the authorization attributed to scriptural texts, and makes it apparent that much of the power that is felt to lie in the texts is truly the power of the community that supports them and approve them. ” Deconstruction is a closer reading of the text which “ reveals ways in which the text ever undoes the statements it is apparently doing. ” The fundamentalists approach to scriptural text is characterized by anti-modernity and excusatory concerns for the church tenet which challenge the postmodern reader for a deconstructive reading of the confessional theological tendencies in the undertaking of Old Testament divinity. Despite that, deconstruction brings new visible radiation in sociological and release positions in Old Testament divinity.

Epistemic Difference

Epistemology is the “ procedure by which the apprehender and the known are together involved in human apprehension. ” Perdue provinces, “ the onslaught of postmodernism launched against modernism is basically an epistemic 1. ” This is even similar with the fundamentalist reading of the Bible. Postmodernism recognizes “ that persons exist contemporaneously in a assortment of vicinities ( societal worlds, civilizations, geographical scenes, etc. ) so that no individual account or ‘lesson ‘ may be transferred from one vicinity to another. All things, avowals, establishments, and facts are demystified, i.e. , removed from the base of unassailability. ” Hence the postmodern reading of the Bible “ places the beginning of understanding within the interaction of the head of the translator, his or her multiple locations, webs of identifies, and the linguistic-cultural looks of the texts. ” This beyond oppugning the unassailability of the fundamentalist reading acknowledges local ways of understanding the scriptural message.


The fundamentalist reading which absolutize and restricts scriptural reading is challenged by the postmodern attack and apprehension of the Scripture. Fundamentalism confines scriptural reading to the ecclesiastical authorization and restrict the undertaking of theological preparations to the confessions and the credos of the church. This was apparent in the Protestant scholastic method in making scriptural divinity. This confessional attack to Old Testament divinity was besides undertaken by Ollenburger and Hoffmann. The rise of historical unfavorable judgment despite being a modernist attack to Bible liberated scriptural divinity from the rubrics of dogmatic divinity. The undertaking of Old Testament divinity began to recognize the historical character of the text. The passage in method here exemplifies the cultural and epistemic impact in scriptural exegesis and scriptural divinity. But postmodernism goes beyond historical unfavorable judgment which acknowledges other ways of understanding the texts. B. S. Childs initiates a newer manner to look at Old Testament by take a firm standing for an Old Testament divinity in the canonical context. Postmodernism besides reacted to the patterns of placing a metanarrative in the Old Testament as the Centre to the undertaking of clarifying an Old Testament divinity. Rolf P. Knierim being influenced by the postmodern thought justly observes a pluralism of Centres among the Old Testament divinities. The most important part of postmodernism to Old Testament divinity is its acknowledgment of the precedency of the reader over the text. This explored the contextual reading of the scriptural text which incarnated institutionalized divinity to a personal degree. The postmodern hermeneutics helps the reader to deconstruct the text and scriptural divinity from the spheres of the fundamentalist ‘s reading of the Bible.

PM non merely helps me to read into the text from the position of my narrative line, but it besides enables me doubt the writers point of position and therefore even doubt the genuineness of the text in itself-so at the terminal of the twenty-four hours my Bible would hold pages that best entreaty to my narrative and there would be barely any!

a hermeneutic of trust instead than intuition ;

is there an anxiousness that makes me fear if the universe is truly true!

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