Category Archives: Richard Novick

Rethinking the Paradigm of the Fall

These are the instruction notes from the second in a series of lessons entitled Lessons in Biblical Exegesis.

 

We begin our second journey into Biblical exegesis by looking at one of Scripture’s oldest and most important stories, the Fall of Man. Peering back into man’s origins is a fertile place to put into practice the exegetical tools we were equipped with in Lesson 1. Along the way, we may find that a proper exegesis opens our eyes to a deeper understanding of this essential narrative.

The early chapters of Genesis express more themes that we can reasonably incorporate into a single lesson. Therefore, we will confine ourselves to investigating a limited number of literary structures. These particular arrangements will factor into our next two studies, and it’s also for that reason that they have been chosen.

In Lesson 1, we identified five “rules of thumb” for interpreting the Scripture.¬†https://fojlv.org/?p=556 To those five, we now add a sixth: identification precedes interpretation. We first identify the literary structure of the passage we wish to interpret before offering an interpretation.

A paradigm is a pattern or model through which we comprehend the world around us. It is a lens through which we see and understand our experiences, what we see, hear, taste and touch. . .even what we read. For example, beginning with the ancient Egyptian astronomer, Ptolemy, the model of the cosmos was that the Earth was at its center and all planetary objects revolved around the Earth. So, when people looked at the night sky, they “read” the movement of the stars according to this model. It was a “given” that the stars were traveling around a stationary Earth. That was the paradigm of cosmic movement until the days of Copernicus and Galileo, many hundreds of years later. As this demonstrates, it is very hard to “break free” of a paradigm and see things differently. Paradigms become deeply embedded in us and can be handed down across multiple generations.

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