Of one thing we can be sure about hermeneutics, there will be disagreements among Christians when we read the Bible together. So at this preliminary stage, talking about aims and such like, it is also good to talk about how we might handle disagreement as we go along. After all, the history of hermeneutics and Scripture is the history of the church, and there we find a number of disagreements, as well as a number of strategies for handling them.
Here are three strategies to think about - it's not an exclusive list.
(1) Ongoing disputation, without schism
(2) One side submitting to another
(3) Compromise negotiated
(4) Schism (for whatever reason, noble or ignoble)
Some examples (briefly):
(1) The great and prolonged debates and different ways of reading Scripture between the Alexandrian and Antichene schools of theology in the first centuries of the Christian era; the also long debates which went on among the schoolmen of the middle ages.
(2) Celtic Christianity agreeing to Roman calculation of calendrical matters, and rule of ecclesial matters at the Synod of Whitby.
(3) The outcome of the council in Jerusalem in Acts 15.
(4) The Great Schism between Eastern and Western Christianity of 1054; the Reformation schism of the 1520s between Protestants and Catholics in Western Europe.
Is it the nature of the issues before Anglicanism at the moment, or our poverty of historical knowledge of three other strategies which keeps us thinking that (ultimately) schism will be the end of the great debate we are involved in?
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