Dale Martin May be From Yale, But He’s Dead Wrong

Dale Martin rejects the idea that there is a “correct” way to interpret Biblical passages. That might make some Christians uncomfortable, but Martin says the idea of unequivocal Biblical interpretation is a relatively new concept and not reflective of the religion’s long history.

There is in fact a correct way to read Scripture.  Do you know who hasn’t believed that in the history of Christianity?  Every heretic and heterodox.

“You never think about reading a poem, looking only for what the poet was trying to say,” Martin told WUOT’s Brandon Hollingsworth. “You can’t listen to the Moonlight Sonata and think there’s only one meaning of that music. So we’ve kind of crippled ourselves when we think that’s what we’re supposed to do with the Bible.”

Apples and oranges, Dale.  Apples and oranges.  Scripture isn’t a sonata nor is it a poem.  It’s authors had an intent that was quite specific and to suggest otherwise is the path that has been taken by every person who has ever twisted Scripture to meet their own agenda.

In that sense, meaning comes not from the Bible’s written words, but from the readers – something Martin says is already creating a cultural shift in the way believers worship, cultivate values and practice their faith.

Poor Dale.  Still riding the coattails of reader-response criticism.  But it died a terrible death at the same time that semiotics did.

Dale used to be smart.  I’m sure at some level he still is.  But he has imbibed too deeply of his pet hermeneutic and he’s lost the plot.  I hope he recovers.