In the latest round of our Theopolitan Conversations, Peter Leithart kicked off a discussion of exegesis and exegetical method. I wrote the first response, which was published yesterday.
In the absence of articulated rules and principles, the authority of Scripture can easily become displaced, increasingly being eclipsed by the supposedly illuminated reader who acts as its appointed intermediary, having arrived at their spiritual readings by some mysterious alchemy of mind. Here I want to give a cautious two cheers for grammatical historical exegesis, whose demand for rigorously articulated exegetical principles was designed in part to curb fanciful exegesis which, while affirming the authority of the text, could treat it as if a blank cheque written out to certain imaginative readers (producing or reinforcing unhealthy authority dynamics that the Reformers and their successors often needed to address). The interpretative minimalism of much grammatical historical exegesis is a serious fault, but not an integral one.
Read the whole thing here.