Matthew:Hermeneutics is a complex discipline that cannot be performed with an overly reduced concept of the term. Indeed, it draws on many fields for its practice and coherence. Will you, briefly, outline what hermeneutics is and explain its relationship to other disciplines both scientific and artistic?
Thiselton: Although it entails, first, biblical hermeneutics, it is vital that Biblical Studies is not isolated from Systematic Theology. This occurs all too often, to the impoverishment of both. Hence the second discipline is Theology. Third, Linguistics has to be studied for a serious Hermeneutic. Fourth, because modern Hermeneuticssince Schleiermacher is “the art of understanding”, it must involve epistemology, or the theory of knowledge. The fifth essential discipline is sociology of knowledge, since all interpretation is not purely “objective”, but depends on pre-understanding, or what Habermas calls “interest”. Preliminary understandings (English, rather than German!) can be negotiated like “horizons”; they are not fixed like “presuppositions. Nowadays, sixthly, Literary Studies are indispensible, both for an understanding of genre (as in Umberto Eco), but also on “intention” and Reader Response Theory.
We might add, seventh, Reception History or Reception Theory, which has now become a sub-discipline in Biblical Studies, Theology, and Literary Theory. I cannot think of any of these eight which we can easily omit. It is tragic that some relegate Hermeneutics only to a branch of Biblical Studies or oh Church History. I have explored more on the Hermeneutics of Doctrine in my book, The Hermeneutics of Doctrine (Eerdmans, 2007).
Matthew:Postmodern thought has been preoccupied with the task of hermeneutics and the relationship of readers to texts. Yet, many in Christian circles have had a difficult time recognizing the value it might add to our reading of texts generally or to the Bible specifically. What positive contributions (if any), in your view has postmodernism made to hermeneutics?
Thiselton: I must confess that I suspect all “-isms” as overgeneralizations. I speak to my students only specifically about Lyotard, Derrida, Rorty, Foucault, and others. For the most part, I am grieved that many Evangelicals retreat from robust, rational discussion because many postmodernists say that I can say only how it is with me, i.e. testify to what has worked for me. But there are some positive features: (1) an attack on the standardization of knowledge, especially making everything correspond to technology (especially Lyotard); this applies to what is said above about “science”. (2) I share their dislike of generalities; but we need caution about rejecting all “meta-narratives”, of which the Bible may be one. (3) Roland Barthes’ early work “Mythologies” is fascinating, and assists Ricoeur’s “Hermeneutic of Suspicion”, although this may be too early to call it “Postmodern”. (4) Jean Baudrillardexposes fantasy and simulacra, together the idolization of utility and media-created, and media-centred “celebrities”. But specifically on Hermeneutics I have some sympathy with Vanhoozer’s exposure of Derrida as too near to atheism, and I would add Lyotard on incommensurability and the plurality of “paganism” as negative. In the U.S.A., I find it difficult to find merits in Rorty and Fish.
重點是，這麼做，他的神學已經不神學了。他的神也不神，只是一個空泛能指。他的Categorical imperative: « Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law. »
再繼續追溯John Hick從Wittgenstein 的鴨兔圖（見上圖）而啟發的經驗相對論（experiencing-as）
，他整理出一個基本的分別（參：An Interpretation of Religion, (2005 Revised),
Part III “Epistemology”, pp.129-170）：日常經驗具有立即的可證偽性（Karl Popper’s falsifiability），但是宗教經驗的證偽卻是多方、且長時間的。但就因為區間長和需要倚賴多方證據，並不能說明宗教經驗或論述就不具備知識的合法地位。
***附帶一提，John Hick的宗教論述當年抵禦Karl Popper和Bertrand Russell 以及維也納學派（Vienna School）對宗教知識論地位的攻擊，在1960年代贏得重要一役，免除神學和宗教研究被全面趕出高等教育系統的危機。
您若對這個議題就興趣，同時關注其所引發的「多元宗教」以及「宗教非實在論」（non-realism）的挑戰，請閱讀An Interpretation of Religion Part IV和以下（最好全書讀完）。我也寫過小論文和報告闡述並反駁。有些可以公開，有些則還不能公開。
多年前在法國學界有過一場規模不小、涉入人物極廣的現象學與「神學轉向」之爭論(Phenomenology and the “Theological Turn”: The French Debate)，看來法國現象學界要比德國更直面「神學」，從列維納斯、利科、德里達到馬西翁的貢獻可以證實這個現象，充份地應證了列維納斯所說的一句話：「歐洲就是指聖經與希臘」，可見「神學」一直都沒有離開過歐洲思想家的視界，只是它以不同的面目出現，若即若離。
列維納斯把「作為他者的他者」理解為上帝，而且這樣的上帝是具有面容的，只是這張面容不是我們佔有的對象，而是一張喚起我們的責任的面容。關鍵就在於，列維納斯避開了存有論而轉向倫理學，所以「傾聽」在此不是停在海德格式的存有論層次中獨白的良知式召喚，因為真正的「傾聽」不喚起什麼，而是必須伴隨以應答和責任(response and responsibility)，以避免傾聽之後依然是冷眼旁觀，傾聽開啟的是責任，構成對同一張面容的倫理關係，因而主張「倫理學是第一哲學(prote philosophia)」。
但如果教徒不理性，我怎麼能夠透過理性的分析說服他們呢？親身牧養實踐的經歷使我知道，在學院內動動嘴，效益本來就不大。故這篇文章是寫給理性的、已經預備好被說服（但仍需要理由）的信徒看的。帶入「群體文化塑造」這點是要打預防針，如果您社會學很強，熟習布迪厄（Pierre Bourdieu）、迪雪圖（Michel de Certeau）、伯格（Peter Berger）等不同學派的社群理論，其實很容易明白為什麼要有這帖預防針的存在。
externalized）、被社群客項化的（已經成為一種語言契約、社會價值的….already objectivated）、已經被輸入並且要被內化成一種個人行為模式的（to be internalized），都「可以」是屬靈爭戰的場域，但不一定「必須」是。其中一個判別原則，就在於先確認爭戰的場域：
3) 「我本身的思維模式都已經是一種被意識型態馴化過的偏差意向」，需要透過凝視不同認知對象（e.g.上帝、楷模人物），透過另啟視域交融（fusion of horizon）的道肉結合事件（參高達美，《真理與方法》，1971的最後一章），來回頭發展主體性的其他可能性？
« The integrative nature of the program and the mid-Atlantic blend (fewer courses, more intensive personal direction) is a good recipe for making theological chamber music. I’m also delighted to be returning to a context in which theology is able to converse with the liberal arts (and sciences). »
« One of my main concerns about evangelicals in the academy today pertains to the interpretation of the Bible. It is tempting to read the Bible like all the other respectable scholars–historians, literary critics, scientists–so that we will be accepted as intellectually respectable, but at what cost? Is there an alternative to imposing [any] theoretical frameworks onto the Bible? »
Comment: I don’t think so. But the only legitimate imposition will be reading it within our ecclesial redemptive framework by the virtue ethics that the HS is demanding. 我相信從現象學、後結構、後殖民、後現代，走到後自由，康德式「先天直觀」或「超驗統覺」能被恢復的機會愈發渺茫。倒是天主教法國現象學有機會重燃阿奎那、並讓迪卡兒枯骨復生，「新基礎主義」的自然神學／基督教形上學的「Neo-」說不定很快就要和那一票「Post-」打對台了。但不論如何，「聖經」一定不會是「認識論金字塔」的底層，而是頂層。這就意味著它的崇高、權威地位仍需要有穩固的下部理論基礎支撐（歷史研究、語言學研究、教會論、基督論、倫理學、人類學、宇宙科學…等）。無論後自由還是新基礎，都是在為這個金字塔工程服務，但其目的不是建造「聖言巴別塔」（bibliolatrous Babel ），而是讓聖書成為連結神格三位一體（父子靈）或哲學三維（存有論、認識論、倫理學）的頂錐–亦即一個三維立體（3 dimensional）並動態的神學。
« A related issue concerns the conversation between exegetes and systematic theologians about biblical interpretation. We have a long way to go fully to heal the Enlightenment split between biblical studies and dogmatics. No one–neither church nor society nor academy– really benefits from this balkanization of theological studies. »
Comment: This is a legit diagnosis. But Duke is healing this split by doing postliberal holistic ecumenical theology. Wheaton is not the only one, nor has it to start the enterprise from Ground Zero.
» It’s encouraging that evangelicals have not abandoned the church, though too often our churches are islands unto themselves, cut off from confessional continents and susceptible to being carried along by the prevailing cultural currents.I’m concerned that the attitude that “no one can really know the truth” has seeped into the evangelical mind. From the (correct, in my opinion) premise that no tradition gives us exclusive access to absolute truth, some infer (incorrectly, in my opinion) that it really doesn’t matter which, if any, tradition we inhabit. For my own part, I’d rather reside in a house with a leaky roof or basement than rough it on the street. . . . »
« It’s encouraging that evangelicals have not abandoned the academy, though a Christian presence is more palpable in some disciplines (e.g., philosophy) rather than others (e.g., English lit.).
The most important thing is to be aware that culture is always, already there–something in which we live and move and have our historical being–and that it is always actively cultivating, always forming habits of the heart and habits of perception.
The image of the church as maritime vessel (ship) in the sea (the world) is a good one: Throughout Scriptures, water is often a symbol for powers that can engulf us. You need to know the ship and know the sea. But the church should not be wholly anti-world either, for the sea, as part of the created order, is in another sense what sustains us. Ultimately it is the wind–the breath of the word-ministering Spirit–that allows the churchto be counter-cultural and to set her course against the prevailing intellectual currents. »
« I have two books coming out next year. The first, Remythologizing Theology: Divine Action, Passion, and Authorship, will be published by Cambridge University Press in their Studies in Christian Doctrine series. It is a sustained reflection on the claim that God speaks to us and that we speak to God. I develop a communicative or dialogical theism that develops its understanding of the God-world relationship largely out of the biblical depictions of human-divine conversation. I then bring this communicative focus to bear on the twin vexed issues of divine action and divine sufferingthrough a critical engagement with the “new orthodoxy,” namely, versions of open theism and panentheism that insist on seeing God’s suffering as entailed by God’s love. The result is what I am calling a post-Barthian Thomism. It’s a “retooling” of classical theism that makes interpersonal dialogue rather than impersonal causality the keystone of the God-world relation. It also revisits several long-standing controversies such as the relations of God’s sovereignty to human freedom, time to eternity, and suffering to love. »
以Vanhoozer作為編輯的另一個出版計畫「聖經畫展」（ Pictures at a Biblical Exhibition）則是一個透過「圖畫」和「圖像」觀念反差
（Picture vs. Scene）的三W（worship, witness, and wisdom）恢復計畫。圖畫是完整的、圖像是局部的。因此圖畫的展示變隱含了實踐神學的工作：Vanhoozer提倡，將自身的救贖敘事，與聖經中的拯救劇場整合成一幅圖畫，需要依靠「聖化的想像力」（ Sanctified imagination）。
» The second, Pictures at a Biblical Exhibition: Theological Scenes of the Church’s Worship, Witness, and Wisdom, will be published by InterVarsity Press. It’s a collection of essays that attempts to make what I’ve been working on over the past few years a bit more accessible–hence “scenes” rather than the big picture. I argue that we need to recover a biblically rooted, theologically formed imagination for the sake of the church’s worship, witness, and wisdom. If a picture has indeed held the evangelical church captive, then this book could be seen as an exercise in liberation theology! »
On Sanctified imagination: « I find that the imagination is a vital ingredient in my sanctification. I need the big biblical picture (creation-fall-redemption-consummation). To keep the gospel story [together with its presuppositions and implications] in mind requires imagination to connect our own story to that of Jesus. Thus, the imagination is “sanctified” because it is “set apart” for the purpose of making just these kinds of connections. On the contrary vain imaginings are those that mislead us to see our lives as part of either godless or pagan pictures. »
« First, reading. Martha Nussbaum has some wonderful essays in her book Love’sKnowledge on how the novels of Henry James train us to attend to the moral significance of the details of human life. If we can learn moral sensitivity from Henry James, how much more can Christians learn, say, about speech ethics from the epistle of James, not to mention all the Old Testament narratives, Jesus’ parables, and the Gospels themselves. »
« My concern is that many Evangelicals are suffering from malnourished imaginations. This impedes their ability to live coherently in the world–that is, according to a meaningful metanarrative. We want to believe the Bible, but we are unable to see our world in biblical terms (this is a major theme of my Pictures at a Biblical Exhibition that I mentioned above). That leads to a fatal disconnect between our belief-system and our behavior, our faith and our life. If faith’s influence is waning, as two-thirds of Americans now think, I believe that it is largely because of a failure of the evangelical imagination. »
Comment: I would substitute ‘critical/fiduciary framework’ for the word « metanarrative » just for political or confessional reasons. 第一點我基本完全同意，僅有的小意見就是用詞術語，對後自由陣營的用語我還是覺得較為親切和舒服吧（其實這詞是Vanhoozer自己從前也借用的）
« Reading, then, is a kind of strength-training that flexes the muscles of our imagination. Those who read widely are often those who are able to employ metaphors that connect ordinary life to the wonderful real world of the Bible.
Viewing self as part of the ongoing biblical narrative: My task as a disciple of Jesus Christ is to continue the theodramatic action–the plot of salvation history–in a manner that is consistent with what the Father, Son, and Spirit have already done and are still doing. To some extent, the theologian is a worker in dramatic fittingness whose task is to help us understand the drama of redemption, both theoretically and practically. We need practical understanding of the gospel so that we can speak and act faithful and orthodox lines in new cultural scenes.
New player on the academic scene: the theological interpreter of Scripture. Is it a kind of exegete? historical theologian? systematic theologian? a mixture of all three? Be that as it may, the issues that my book is about–the metaphysics, epistemology, and ethics of meaning–continue to demand our attention. »
Comment: Vanhoozer 這裡是為平信徒才問的問題，其實從自己2005年和 N.T. Wright合編了「聖經神學詮釋辭典」（Dictionary of Theological Interpretation of the Bible）時相信早有答案。我同樣認為杜克大學早已用行動耕耘來回答這問題有十餘年了： Should not neglect the fact that theological interpretation of Scripture is already done by persons from all the abovementioned positions.
« Let me begin by saying that my subtitle alludes to Van Harvey’s important work, The Historian and the Believer: The Morality of Historical Knowledge and Christian Belief. Harvey argues that it is immoral to believe something except on the basis of sufficient evidence. This makes criticism more “moral” than faith. So much for the modern morality of knowledge. What I wanted to call attention to was that some postmoderns move in the opposite direction, succumbing not to intellectual pride but sloth by maintaining that it is immoral (they say “violent”) to make claims about a text’s determinate meaning. »
« Hermeneutics is a subset of ethics because interpretation aims at a certain kind of good, namely, understanding. In my book I argue for the importance of what I call the interpretative virtues: habits of mind that are more conducive [than not] to getting understanding. In particular, humility is a key interpretive virtue without which readers cannot do justice to authors as “others.” Other interpretive virtues include honesty, openness, and attentiveness. Ultimately, the interpretive virtues are not merely intellectual, nor even moral, but spiritual and theological, for truly to be honest, humble, self-critical, and open is to be a person with certain dispositions, many of which are related to the fruit of the Spirit. »
Comment: 他的這段回答很直接就能與歐陸（特別以法國為中心）近代「詮釋學的神學轉向」、「現象學的神學轉向」、「保羅研究的哲學轉向」等思潮移轉看出關連性。 It is theological and spiritual also because that it involves phenomenologically setting the order of things (les mots et les choses) in a right relation.