QOTD: Ulrich Luz on Understanding Texts

Historical reconstruction means to describe the life situations to which the texts — as their frozen memories belonged and to which they referred. But again, this is not yet to understand the texts. Frozen food becomes meaningful only when it is unfrozen and can be eaten. A photograph becomes meaningful only when it is combined with our memory and when, through it, the persons represented in it come alive again in our hearts. In a similar way biblical texts are meaningful only when they become part of our life. In other words, to understand a New Testament text does not mean to understand the words of the text only but to understand the living Christ to whom it testifies and the life situation that was shaped by him, and to understand both as a gift, a question, and a challenge for our own lives. Understanding such texts is not an intellectual knowledge that can be separated from other dimensions of life; rather this understanding is possible only when it encompasses human life in its totality — intellectual insights, feelings, actions, and suffering”

— Luz, Ulrich. Matthew in History: Interpretation, Influence, and Effects. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1994, 14

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