Does it help or hinder your approach to reading the Bible to place importance on the hermeneutic, or method of interpretation?
It helps. I believe I read the Bible better when I am conscious of how I am approaching the Bible. Maybe that’s because I’m a novice. Perhaps it is a habit I’ll fall into overtime and someday I’ll stop being so conscious of how I approach the Bible when I read it. Then again, maybe reading scripture appropriately is always an interruption and can never become perfunctory, because it is an encounter with God. I don’t know.
That said, I do NOT believe people must first become self-reflective hermeneuticists (which—for good or for ill—I count myself one) before reading the Bible can change who they are. Reflective and unreflective readers alike need only to follow a reliable guide for their reading to change who they are. That guide could come in the form of a teacher, or it could be a queasy feeling (as James suggests in Module 2.1). Luke 24 shows this guide to be Jesus resurrected.
How does the role of the one reading change when the emphasis is on the question, “How do you read it?”
Cohering with the mimetic understanding of human being, the “How do you read it?” question leads a reader to recognize that she does not—indeed cannot—approach the text on her own; she is only capable of reading a text because someone else first demonstrated how to read.
– Texts are not autonomous.
– Authorial intention is not a standard.
– No reader is free to respond to texts however she chooses.
The reader’s choice is always a choice to follow someone. In effect, asking a human “How do you read?” is another way of asking “Which reader’s example do you emulate?”