Writing an Interpretation

"Whether it is valued as the root of faith or only as an iconic Western text, interpretations of the Bible have social and religious power. Writing an interpretation of the New Testament is, thus, not only an act of scholarly research, but also an act of political power because the interpretations scholars create have the potential to affect the actual lived existence of millions of people around the world. The power is the 'elephant in the room' that very few biblical scholars will ever discuss openly. The stakes of writing biblical interpretation  can be very high, and that makes knowing as much as possible about the assumptions and beliefs of those wielding that power crucial."

- Mary Ann Tolbert, "Writing History, Writing Culture, Writing Ourselves: Issues in Contemporary Biblical Interpretation," in Soundings in Cultural Criticism: Perspectives and Methods in Culture, Power, and Identity in the New Testament edited by Francisco Lozada Jr. and Greg Carey (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2013), 17-30 (here, 25).