In this article, Celia Kourie argues that using the historical-critical method to interpret the Bible has proven to be too limiting. A more spiritual, mystical reading of scripture can add a depth of understanding unavailable to a strictly rational approach. Here is the beginning of the article’s abstract:
This paper takes as its starting point the increasing interest in spirituality and Scripture. This is clearly part of the relatively recent, unprecedented research in the field of spirituality studies. We are moving away from the distrust of a spiritual or mystical reading of Scripture in scientific and analytical circles, and the academy is freeing itself from the fetters of determinism. This is largely due to a major heterodox methodological explosion within the field of biblical hermeneutics within the last few decades. Without denying the value of historical-critical approaches, their hegemony has been challenged and the limitations of the positivistic framework within which the method operates have been brought to the fore. This is not to deny its validity. In spite of its shortcomings, it has been and continues to be of vital importance in determining the provenance of the text. Contemporary biblical studies bear witness to a major shift from a mechanistic to a holistic paradigm, enabling the text to come to life as transformative and life-changing: as a dynamic medium rather than a static object. In order to further elucidate this fact, the current article offers a reading of Scripture through a “mystical lens”, with particular reference to Origen’s (ca. 185–253) contribution and also that of a relatively unknown modern mystic, Elizabeth Catez (1880–1906).
The full summary in English and the complete article in Afrikaans are available.
Kourie, Celia. “Die transformerende effek van ’n mistieke lees van die Skrif.” LitNet Akademies Jaargang 16, no. 3 (October 30, 2019).