QOTD: Wright

This becomes more obviously true, and at a more serious level, when we try to talk about events in the past. Suppose, for example, we try to make a small but central claim about Jesus. If we say ‘Christ died for our sins’, it is not difficult to see an obvious element of interpretation: ‘for our sins’ is a theological addendum to the otherwise ‘historical’ statement. But even if we say ‘Christ died’, we have not escaped interpretation: we have chosen to refer to Jesus as ‘Christ’, ascribing to him a Messiahship which neither his contemporaries nor ours would universally grant. Very well: ‘Jesus died’. But we still have not escaped ‘interpretation’, and indeed at this point it looms larger than ever: three people died outside Jerusalem that afternoon, and we have chosen to mention only one. For that matter, thousands of Jews were crucified by the Romans in the vicinity of Jerusalem during the same century, and we have chosen to mention only one. Our apparently bare historical remark is the product of a multi-faceted interpretative decision. Nor is this unusual. It is typical of all history. All history involves selection, and it is always human beings who do the selecting.

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2 Responses to QOTD: Wright

  1. Dave Black says:

    Great quote. Thanks!

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