The study of words and actions, written about and by people who lived many years ago in a faraway land with a different language and symbolic structure, has inherent difficulties, as has been shown by biblical hermeneutic research. To understand the origins of Christianity, I must be cognizant about first century Palestinian Jewish cultural conditions, as well as my own biases. I need to avoid projecting my own experiences and prejudices on documents written thousands of years ago. Can I ever really fully understand the men and women of the Mediterranean area who lived over two thousand years ago? I can try. Fortunately, a few of these early followers of Jesus, among the elite literate well educated of their time, left some sparse written evidence. Their cosmology, their economics, and their sociology are not mine. I must be aware of this from the start.
Christians reading the Old Testament
The Old Testament Hebrew Bible raises questions of interpretation for a Christian. To what extent am I, as a Christian, projecting Christian views and values on the children of Israel, the people of Israel, the Israelites? There are various terms that translators have used to describe the slowing forming group of Yahweh believers over three thousand years ago. Yahweh was their God and intervened in their lives. They had a special relationship or covenant with him. The Hebrew sacred writings were incorporated into Christianity because all the early Christians were Jewish. However, the writings were not originally meant for Christians, but for the Hebrew people. Can I really fully understand the Semitic thought process of three thousand years ago? Will I be able to appreciate how important the promised land of Israel was to Jewish people? What role did the exodus from Egypt, the Temple, the exile, and the various codes play in their lives? I can try, but I doubt if I will be fully successful.
Daniel got sick (Dan 8:27-8:27)
I lay sick
For some days.
Then I arose.
I went about
The king’s business.
But I was dismayed
By the vision.
I did not understand it.”
Daniel was sick for a couple of days. Then he got up to help the king of Babylon with his business at Susa. However, he was still shaken and dismayed. He still did not fully understand that vision, even after the explanation of Gabriel.