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James Cone

Hermeneutics 101, Part Two: We Read the Bible Through Lenses

Last week, I began a three-part seminar on hermeneutics, an introduction to biblical interpretation. Part One of the seminar was entitled, "The Bible is Alien to Us," and introduced participants to the translation process and comparing English translation approaches, introducing participants to the historical and cultural context of the Bible (i.e. the ancient Near East), and introducting participants to some of the literary elements of scripture (e.g. genre, metaphor, idiom, and myth).

This week, I taught Part Two, entitled: "We Read the Bible Through Lenses," and introduced participants to Social Location and to a "Community Hermeneutic."

For PDF versions of the manuscript and slides, see my account:

Hermeneutics 101, Part Two: We Read the Bible Through Lenses (Manuscript)
Hermeneutics 101, Part Two: We Read the Bible Through Lenses (Slides)


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On James Cone—"Strange Fruit: The Cross and the Lynching Tree"

James Cone is a prophetic voice to US American Christians, and particularly to black and white church communities. Cone understands his social location as both a constraint on his viewpoint, and as an invaluable opportunity for unique insight. His insight draws upon his identity as both a Christian theologian and a black US American man.

In his lecture: "Strange Fruit: The Cross and the Lynching Tree", Cone utilizes the terrifying and soul-scaring reality of lynching in the US as a powerful symbol of the extreme, unjust victimization that characterized the cross—as well as a powerful symbol of the limitless hope and liberation that the cross provides for those who see God's suffering solidarity with humanity in it. Cone reminds us that we cannot ignore the reality of lynching and yet glamorize the cross; they are both symbols of gruesome violence wrought at the hands of evil empires. He also reminds us through both these symbols, millions of people around the globe have glimpsed the eschatological hope that characterizes the Christian faith, and have been compelled to seek justice in this world for the marginalized, the oppressed, and the stigmatized.

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Theological Graffiti is a blog written by T. C. Moore @tc_moore ...a Jesus-disciple, husband, father, Associate Pastor @NewCityChurch of Los Angeles, sometimes web designer, writer, and theology geek. For more about me, visit my Personal Website or my Online Profile. Otherwise, enjoy the graffiti.

T. C.

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