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Spirit and Flesh in the Doing of & Theology

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This article attempts to set forth the possibility, the legitimacy and the practical outworking of what could be called a ’critical hermeneutics of the Spirit’ in contradistinction to a ’hermeneutic of the flesh’. After a definition of the terms ’flesh’ and ’spirit’, the article proceeds to a description of life and activity according to the Spirit whose most salient characteristics are that the ’body of sin is rendered inoperative’ (Romans 6.6) with the result that there is clarity of mind. Errors in interpreting the Sacred Text can come about because of faulty information about and from the Text or because of the interference of the flesh. The drives of the flesh that most inhibit an understanding of the realities mediated by the Text are self-seeking, ignorance of one’s own sinfulness, sloth and prejudice. Prejudice can be philosophical (epistemological and historical) and literary (restricting oneself to a discussion of ’text’ rather than reality mediated by the text). As an example of both ‘explaining’ and ’understanding’ a biblical text, Hebrews 10.40-10 is studied with the goal of letting the text be ’adversarius noster’ and move us to a spiritual understanding of not only what the text says but also what it is talking about.


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