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30.11.16

interpretation of Torah

I have been thinking about the question of interpretation of Torah.

It is not just the approach of Saadia Gaon and Maimonides that when the simple explanation of the verse is not possible then we go to allegory. Rather I have been thinking about the history of interpretation from the Middle Ages and up until Heidegger and  hermeneutic circle. [ It refers to the idea that one's understanding of the text as a whole is established by reference to the individual parts and one's understanding of each individual part by reference to the whole. Neither the whole text nor any individual part can be understood without reference to one another, and hence, it is a circle. However, this circular character of interpretation does not make it impossible to interpret a text; rather, it stresses that the meaning of a text must be found within its cultural, historical, and literary context.]

Interpretation of the Middle Ages we already know about. פשט רמז דרש סוד or allegory.

Later came the questions of who has the right to interpret? Is is duly constituted authorities or any individual or perhaps a charismatic leader that the individual decides to accept? [This is not unrelated. The idea that every individual could interpret a text according to how it applies to him or her led immediately into disposing of the relevance of the text and going towards delusional charismatic leaders.]

I do not have a lot to add except to say that the  hermeneutic circle is really only closed in Torah because God is the ground of validity. Without that any text has  an non enclosed circle.  Also I wanted to mention that Torah might share some aspects of myth but it is not myth. It is Revelation. 

So to put together a whole approach based on these issues seems important to me but not really possible right now because it is a little foggy and vague how to put it all together.


In any case we already know חגי זכריה מלאכי סוף נבואה רבינא ורב אשי סוף הוראה.  Zachria, Malachi, Chagai are the end of prophecy and Ravina and Rav Ashi are the end of Halacha decision making. So we already know the attempts to claim these two gifts are invalid.