An author’s meaning does not change

hirsch validity in interpretationIf textual meaning itself could change, contemporary readers would lack a basis for agreement or disagreement. No one would bother seriously to discuss such a protean object. The significance of textual meaning has no foundation and no objectivity unless meaning itself is un- changing. To fuse meaning and significance, or interpretation and criticism by the conception of an autonomous, living, changing meaning does not really free the reader from the shackles of historicism; it simply destroys the basis both for any agreement among readers and for any objective study whatever (Validity in Interpretation, 213-214). E. D. Hirsch

We cannot have valid interpretation of anything, including Scripture, if the meaning of the author can change. See the accompanying article for the author’s application to the recent ruling on same-sex marriage.

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