Thursday, October 12, 2006

Religion: I'm a molecular biologist not a theologian ... theological exam, part I

Dr. McCoy of Star Trek, the Original Series was noted for his remark, "I'm a doctor, not a ... fill-in-the-blank."

I was web surfing recently and I came across this item that has an exam the blogger either had to take as part of his ordination exam or believes should be given to those who aspire to eldership in the church.

Certainly, in addition to understanding the content of faith, an elder should have the character traits that reflects the transformation of God. Alas, I suspect, more often than we are willing to admit, we select individuals who need more growth in both areas.

I do hope to grow in greater Christ-likeness in behavior and in knowledge even if I am "only" just a lay volunteer in our youth group.

So as material for this blog post and future ones, I'll take this exam.

I won't be looking things up as I take the exam though I may look up items after the fact. Also, my answers will be brief. If I don't know, I'll offer a guess and keep it short. If I think I know, I'll still keep it short! I welcome correction and instruction on these matters!

So here goes, five questions at a time ...

What gave rise to the method of allegorical interpretation?

Beats me! I suppose in the zeal to impose a certain interpretation on a text, one can create an allegory for the passage in question.

Why is the method of allegorical interpretation faulty?

An allegorical interpretation might make sense to the interpreter but would it have made sense to the person who heard the original text? A text should make sense to the people who first heard it. An allegory could bring into play facts and concepts not familar to the original hearers. A text might have a different application to us today but the ideas should be consistent to the original intent.

What is meant by the term regula fedei?

Sorry, didn't take Latin in high school. But since English words often come from Latin words, I wonder if "regula fedei" means something like regular faith? So maybe this has something to do with doctrines that are considered basic and essential?

What was the position of the church in the Middle Ages concerning tradition and authority?

I suppose this could be a reference to the divide between the Catholic and Orthodox faith traditions. The Catholics believe that the teaching authority (on matters of theology and morality) was vested in: Scripture, tradition (early church creeds) and the pope. The Orthodox church recognized Scripture and tradition but rejected papal authority. The Protestant view on authority is Scripture alone.

What was the relationship between dogmatics and exegesis during this period?

Don't know! Exegesis from my understanding is the process of explaining a text. I don't know what dogmatics is. My understanding of the word dogma is essential belief. So perhaps, the difference is that dogmatics is a "top-down" approach to understanding the Bible and exegesis starts from an specific text and builds upward?

To be continued ...

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