bibleEarly on in my Christian walk I was instructed that the 3 golden rules of scripture interpretation are: context, context and context. It’s clear to me though, that not everyone gets this sort of training, or learns to appreciate it’s wisdom, as over the years I have heard a lot of poor interpretations of scripture coming from the mouths of Christians and non-Christians alike. And some of these interpretations have been quite anti-semetic, making it clear that the interpreter failed to appreciate (a) that Jesus was a Jew, (b) that consequently the debates between Jesus and other Jews were intra-Jewish debates and (c) it would be foolish to presume that the Jews Jesus disagreed with are UNIVERSALLY representative of Jews then or today; particularly the latter given (i) the loss of the Temple of Jerusalem in 70AD and (ii) almost two thousand years of consequent religious development including (iii) the Talmud tradition. And it has subsequently struck me that similar problems surround the interpretation of the Quran. Particularly, that it would be foolish for either Muslims or non-Muslims to assume that when Modammed spoke of “the Jews” or “the Christians” his observations should be taken as UNIVERSALLY applicable to Jews and Christians everywhere and everywhen, with no consideration of context.

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