Minimize Media Impact on Exegesis

Biblical exegesis and the use of such exegetical tools as intertexture are designed to be objective and approach scripture unbiased, when applied in a vacuum. Unfortunately, once the interpreter enters the endeavor of biblical exegesis, objectivity is compromised. Every interpreter comes to scriptures with a lifetime of cultural influence, experiences, and preconceived ideas. One of these strong influences in modern times is the impact of the media. The 21st century has seen an incredible increase in media coverage of all worldwide events. The world is a smaller place because of the ease of accessibility to media coverage.

A new phenomenon in media coverage is the use of social media in correlation with mainstream media. Unfortunately, social media is a fertile environment for deception and the advancement of misinformation. In the past seven years, users and developers on social media sites have increased by 64% and continue to grow. (Tsikerdekis, 2014, p.72) With the ease of getting a social media account, deception can become a motivation to start a social media account and manipulate others. (Tsikerdekis, 2014, p. 72) This use of social media for deception, coupled with the mainstream media pushing agendas, creates an atmosphere that makes approaching scripture interpretation objectively.

Tools such as Robbins’s socio-rhetorical criticism allow the interpreter to quiet the noise of the media world and create an objective environment for interpretation. (Robbins, 1996, p.2) In order for an interpreter to properly assess the gap between the message of the original author and the contemporary world (Duvall, 2012, p. 22), it is necessary to fully grasp the world of the original author without the misconceptions, false information, and contemporary agendas placed on the ancient scriptures. By creating an objective environment before approaching scripture, the interpreter minimizes the effect the media has on biblical exegesis.

References

Duvall, J. S., Hays, J. D., & Strauss, K. J. V. and M. L. (2012). Grasping God’s Word: A Hands-On Approach to Reading, Interpreting, and Applying the Bible (3 edition.). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Robbins, V. K. (1996). Exploring the texture of texts: a guide to socio-rhetorical interpretation. Valley Forge, Pa: Trinity Press International.

Tsikerdekis, M., & Zeadally, S. (2014). Online Deception in Social Media. Communications of the ACM, 57(9), 72–80.


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