The Return of Oral Hermeneutics

Have Western exegetes turned an Eastern book into a Western one? Has our fondness for a fixed printed text capable of being analyzed with precision and exactitude blinded us to other hermeneutic possibilities? Does God require all people to be able to analyze grammar to interpret Scripture? Does God assume all people can interpret Scripture through oral means? The authors recognize the effects of centuries of literacy socialization that produced a blind spot in the Western Christian world—the neglect by most in the academies, agencies, and assemblies of the foundational and forceful role orality had on the biblical text and teaching. From the inspired spoken word of the prophets, including Jesus (pre-text), to the elite literate scribes who painstakingly hand-printed the sacred text, to post-text interpretation and teaching, the footprint of orality throughout the entire process is acutely visible to those having the oral-aural influenced eyes of the Mediterranean ancients. Could oral hermeneutics be the “mother of relational theology”?

Oral what??

Professor Bill Bjoraker gives an introduction to his fascinating new book with Tom Steffen, The Return to Oral Hermeneutics. Learn what this theological field encompasses, as well as the difference between the lecture and discussion methods of instruction.

The Place of Story and Storytelling in Messianic Jewish Ministry: Rediscovering the Lost Treasures of Hebraic Narrative

God made man because He loves stories.” (Elie Wiesel)1

W hy are story and storytelling so important for Messianic Jewish ministry? A principal reason is that Yeshua the Messiah used stories as his primary teaching method. He used stories to teach both the non-literate or semi-literate am ha aretz (the common folk) in Galilee as well as the most highly literate Torah scholars of his day in Jerusalem. He is the Master Teacher and our exemplar for our teaching vocations. Additionally, the concepts contained in any given category of systematic theology are embedded in the hundreds of stories found in Scripture. Telling these stories, leading group discussion of them, and using good questions that facilitate application to life is a more effective way to get people into the Bible and the Bible into people than lecturing on systematic or philosophical theology. Furthermore, the fact that about 70% of the canonical Scriptures are in the narrative genre suggests that we should give proportionally about 70% of our Bible teaching time to storytelling.