Wirkungsgeschichte – the in between as lens

Wirkungsgeschichte – concept described by the German philosopher Hans-Georg Gadamer.  Biblical understanding is depends on more than the context of the story events and author.   Gadamer suggested that our ability to perceive the contextual meaning may be inseparable from our frame of reference.  That frame of reference inherently includes the various interpretations of the text embraced between the events and their recording and current day.

——>——– passage of time —–>——–>——–>———–>——–>————–>————->

Event/Recording ————->-[                 empty gap           ]———————————->——Today
Event—>—-Recording—>——————[                 empty gap           ]——————–>——Today


Event->–Recording->–apostles–> middle ages–>—>—>modern—>—->—postmodern->-Today

Not an empty gap between then and now; rather there are multitudes of interpretation and history in the intervening time. These act as a lens through which we perceive the event and its story. Many descriptions describe this in words with negative connotations –  that this “distorts” or “colors” or impedes our ability to interpret the event and the text.

Jesus Walking On Water

Against the Western emphasis on Peter’s failure and ‘little faith’ (v.31), the Eastern tradition celebrates his imitating Christ. With this, the miracle is freed from its utilitarian restriction and becomes the eye-opener which leads to the confession in verse 33.  Walking On the Water — Did He or Did He Not? by Roland Deines, a review of Walking on the Water: Reading Matthew 14 by Rachel Nicholls. <link to reference>


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