Absolutely, Andrew. James’ intention in this section is to introduce two different approaches to reading Scriptures: the Marcionite way of reading and the fundamentalist approach. He then goes on to demonstrate that by approaching Scriptures as a progressive revelation, we can discover new and more true things about God and ourselves. In this course, Jesus is essentially the interpretative key.
He points out that Marcion thought some texts to be so violent that he proposed ditching the Hebrew Scriptures, as something to do with another god. While a fundamentalist reading says there is one God through the entire Scriptures. This leads to certain readings of Jesus’ death as being demanded by the Father.
James then posits another approach, that of a progressive revelation which sees the New Testament working as an interpretative key opening up Hebrew Scriptures and allowing us to see that the one true God was always making Godself known in and through the Hebrew texts as simultaneously God and Victim.
The point of approaching the texts as progressive revelation is that it enables us to be less frightened of the Hebrew Scriptures, to find them less of a “trap” that you must accept if you are to be a “good person.” ?
There is no such thing as reading these texts without an interpretative key. The Scriptures do not have an interpretative?free meaning of their own. ??? Moreover, prophecy is always read as a movement backwards from your interpretative key. It is going to nudge you into seeing certain words and deeds of the past as pointing towards a certain fulfillment beyond themselves, and sometimes a certain fulfillment despite and beyond themselves.
The following session three elaborates more fully on this theme.