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image of Biblical Interpretation

This study attempts to explore and exemplify several hermeneutical modes of biblical interpretation in light of Asian philosophical systems, especially the concept of the dynamic relationship between yin and yang . By applying some key aspects of the yin-yang dynamics and by utilizing relevant biblical cases, the writer aims to suggest the productivity of reading the biblical texts in dialogue with Asian stories, traditions, and worldviews. The study delineates four major aspects of the yin-yang concepts: (1) duality and plurality, (2) both-and in contradiction and paradox, (3) reciprocity and change, and (4) harmony and balance. Each aspect is defined from various ancient Chinese philosophical resources. The one prominent feature of yin-yang dynamics is the idea of duality and plurality, in that one source has two aspects and those bipolar entities together construct a multi-dimensional whole. Within this complex structure, the opposite components exist together in a "both-and" mutuality rather than "either-or" reduction. In265.p65 stead of repelling against or reducing to one, the two contradictory ideas are often placed together in a dynamic correlation. This dynamic correlation is not static but fluid, constantly changing and flowing within the mutual reciprocity. Two opposite entities not only stand side-by-side but also coerce, challenge, and correct each other in a constant mutual interaction. This mutual interaction does not occur at a random accident but rather for the dynamic retrieval, retaining, and return to the centrality of balance. After defining each of these aspects, selected biblical exemplifications are discussed, in order to present a case that there are many parallel—both similar and opposite—ideas, traditions, and worldviews between the biblical texts and the yin-yang concepts. The biblical exemplifications mainly focus on Genesis 1 and 2, though cases from some other places are also discussed. Several prospects for the possible potentialities and limitations of utilizing this yin-yang dynamics are suggested at the conclusion.

Affiliations: 1: Methodist Theological School in Ohio


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