Monday, July 27, 2015

I Don't Look for "The One, True Interpretation"

I am completely comfortable taking whatever I want from a story and leaving the rest - choosing how I want to interpret it. I do that with commercial fiction, from historical books, from myth and even from scriptures. 

Where I am convinced of a scriptural story's allegorical, figurative or mythical nature (Jonah, Job, some of the more extreme narratives in the Book of Mormon, etc.), I don't try to draw lessons from a literal interpretation - but in cases where I simply can't be certain, I pick whatever interpretation gives me the most powerful message - and, in some cases, I pick multiple interpretations (one literal, one allegorical, one mythical, for example) and take multiple lessons from each one.

Some people who want the one, true interpretation can't stand that approach, but it works for me.

1 comment:

ji said...

In some ways, I agree. Different people can see different views of the same thing (a person looking at a car from the front sees and later describes something different than another looking at the same car from the rear. But still, I am sometimes mindful of 2Peter 1:20 (and more ominously, 2 Peter 3:16). Even so, every one of us needs to do the best we can, as opportunities unfold, here a little and there a little, until we all come to perfect understanding. In the meantime, no good comes from doctrinal disputations, and certainly, we don't ever want to put stumbling blocks in front of our fellow Saints.