Friday, February 25, 2011


James Faulconer spends a good deal of time discussing approaches to scriptural texts. Latter-day Saints, he believes, may be tempted to read scripture as though it was "naive philosophy":
Those who read the scriptures in this way take the gospel to be a set of doctrinal propositions that one is to learn, and they take the scriptures to be a record of those principles and propositions behind which the ‘theological’ gospel hides. When we read scripture this way, it is as if we assume that God is simply a poor writer–or that he chooses poor mouthpieces–and finds himself unable to lay out clearly and distinctly, in an ordered fashion, the principles he wants to teach us. With amazing hubris, we assume it is our job to do the work he was unable to do, the work of making everything clear, distinct, and orderly.
Faulconer favors a “disruptive reading,” one in which readers seek questions in scripture, questions which call them to repentance and to new perspectives. To Faulconer, scripture is scripture because it can be "likened" a la 2 Nephi 11:2, even apart from its original context in history. Thus, scripture is "a call to consider another way of being than that we currently inhabit, in other words, a call to repentance". That isn't to say historicity is unimportant. Rather, "Historical understanding of the scriptures can challenge us to question the overlay of interpretation that has accrued to the text and become 'obvious,' a tradition of our fathers".
--from review by B Hodges of "Faith, Philosophy, Scripture"

1 comment:

  1. I have new insight and an appreciation of this quote and of the scriptures since being in Guatemala and seeing some of the sites, and studying the Book of Mormon with different eyes. Thanks for this quote, Pa.