Something has not felt right to me about various comments I have seen regarding the need to stay exclusively within a text for it to be a valid hermeneutic 'for this site'. Actually that's nonsense. I realized that I believe the we need for this site some form of hermeneutical protection. Who knows who will be mods in the future and what narrow set of hermeneutics they might approve of. What I mean is that while some hermeneutical approaches are in vogue in the world today and especially in America we have the grammatical-historical with futurist tendencies on prophecy, we must make sure that neutrality is protected by not trying to sell that as 'our hermeneutic', the correct one, making those who use an 'other' hermeneutics as second class citizens. (I generally find nothing wrong with the grammatical-historical method personally and think the futurist hermeneutic is almost incomprehensible nonsense, yet I would not oppose it as a valid hermeneutic. I would not even throw down-votes at it. But my preference is irrelevant.)
Two hermeneutics that do not need to be protected (currently) as they are personally valued by various users and mods are historical-grammatical and historical-critical. Both of them 'seem' more objective as they tend to be based on drawing out the meaning of a particular text without any application or intensive synthesis with historical dogma, the rest of the scriptures (analogy of faith), allegorization, or even historical fulfillment of prophecy. I am not sure how many hermeneutic approaches will be considered second class by those who promote these two but I suppose it is not important to define them as long as we seek to protect them whenever a new user begins to use them here.
First, we need to separate 'application' of a text in the form of a scripture a sermon from hermeneutics that require 'application of data outside of a text’ as essential to the hermeneutic. Just because we don't like sermons (which might be a bad thing) does not mean that a hermeneutic should not rely on external data to help define the meaning of a text. In many cases if you were a ‘purists’ imagining that exegesis can be performed in a test tube that is without a hermeneutic bringing a bias into it. If it is dreamed that one can only stay objectively stuck to the text in question then we would be able to hesitantly conclude nothing that valuable to anyone, especially ancient fulfilled prophecy. True, I think we can all agree that we do not want people standing on their soapboxes and using a text only to insert their pre-made sermons upon the rest of us. On the other hand, this does not mean we should encourage those promoting their ‘within-the-text-only’ hermeneutic to leave narrow minded and condescending mini-sermons in comments against anyone using a different hermeneutic from them. I know for one I do not appreciate somebody popping by and questioning weather I am allowed to go outside of a text, as it is some supposed no, no.
For example, Historicists ‘need’ and ‘must’ apply the scripture to history as an essential part of their hermeneutic. They must! go outside the text! Christianity is founded on an exegesis on NOT what an original verse meant in its historical setting (something applauded as exclusively worthy of study in current American religious culture and echoed here) but how the prophecy played out in history, something some are doubtful should be really in-scope on this site?! Christians believe that Jesus is how many prophecies 'played out' in the past. In fact for Christian users the historicists hermeneutic is the basis of our entire religion. If we accept this as a valid hermeneutic for our fundamental beliefs, then we must accept a historicism hermeneutic that might see Greece, Rome, or what have you as the key to understanding the meaning of any given prophecy. Often Jewish and Christian bible scholars conclude the same meaning of a prophecy under the review of history, just not those related to Jesus.
I bring out the historicist hermeneutic purposefully because it breaks the pseudo intellectual agreement of the historical-grammatical and historical-critical approaches. The test tube exegesis where one always stays in the text is just an exegetical philosophy really, not the only thought to think. Yes there are some valid aspects of those two hermeneutical approaches, but they are not Lords of the universe. If we do not identify the danger that an imposition of these hermeneutics might unconsciously tend to have against other valid hermeneutics we may allow our site to become thought police and a form of censorship, while pretending objectivity and neutrality. To avoid all these potential biased subjective evils, I am wondering if is it not important as a fundamental charter that we accept all hermeneutical schools without prejudice? And how can we safeguard this fundamental charter?
Should we collect hermeneutics used by our users and publish them somewhere so that if we find someone stopping by our questions or answers and dropping a sermon against our hermeneutic we can refer them to the charter of freedoms, protecting the sites neutrality? Do we all feel we are promoting a neutral platform, respecting any hermeneutic? Or do we think we can force our hermeneutic on others because from our reference it is currently in vogue. For example, just because a historical-grammatical and futurist hermeneutic is in vogue in America right now and applications from a text are almost considered a form of evil eisegesis, in one hundred years that might be considered rubbish thinking. So why should we assume it is the only way today to properly analyze scripture? Besides, this is not a hermeneutic respected in isolation for thousands of years; it is our modern trends that say this is obvious. Should we not allow the hermeneutical expressions of those who have lived thousands of years before us in the field of biblical study to be valid? Should we protect all these hermeneutical approaches both past and future, or should we just get on a rocking horse and promote our own today? Which is the higher-minded approach? Which is the approach we should take founding a new technology that supports ideas and sharing? Should we be insular and snobbish or broad and truly academic?
Should the users form a charter of hermeneutical protections to ensure a neutral foundation of free thought for this site?