Introducing the social-scientific critical exegesis of New Testament texts : methodological initiators in the research history
The article is the first of a series of three that aim to introduce social scientific exegesis of New Testament texts. Aspects of the social background of these writings are analyzed in light of the perspectives which underlie the dynamics of first-century Mediterranean social world. The article shows that social-scientific criticism of the New Testament represents an exegetical approach by means of which the rhetoric of texts is interpreted in light of their cultural environment and the social interaction that determines this context and semeiotic codes. The first article focuses on the initiators in the field of historical-critical exegesis who paved the way to social scientific criticism and explain key facets of the "new" exegetical approach. The second article explains some models and methods of social-scientific criticism. The third article discusses some advantages of social scientific criticism and poses a critique of the approach by reflecting on the positivism that could underlie the epistemology behind some interpretation models used in social scientific criticism. It concludes with an emphasis on cultural criticism as a hermeneutical challenge.