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 Articles: Raymond Cottrell on Dr. Ford
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Exegesis of Daniel

by Raymond Cottrell

The Hermeneutical Problem

Ford attributes these exegetical difficulties to the fact that "our Adventist pioneers, including Ellen G. White, based their distinctive positions on the sanctuary on the principle of analogy" and that "this approach, linked to the proof-text method, had built-in inadequacies."76 As already noted, instead of interpreting Daniel 8:14 in terms of its own context, the proof-text method does so on the basis of verbal analogies with Leviticus 16 and Hebrews 9 without ascertaining whether these other passages are, as a matter of fact, even dealing with the same set of facts as Daniel 8:14.

Another problem with the proof text method is the fact that it ignores the meaning the prophecies of Daniel had for Daniel and his original reading audience. "It is a primary datum of hermeneutics," recognized by all Adventist Bible scholars today and affirmed by Ellen White, "that every part of the Bible had meaning for the people who first received it."77 The proof-text method affirms that Daniel 8:14 had no meaning for the people of Daniel's time, but applied only, and directly, to 1844. It also ignores the fact that predictions are always conditional on the faithful response of the church.78 Furthermore, "our pioneers applied the details of the sanctuary type and the details of the parable [Matthew 25:1-13] in a way their spiritual descendants could never do."79 Types and parables can never be made the basis of doctrine80 --as we insist with respect to the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, for instance.

Ford assumes that the "grammatico-historical / hermeneutical system" is "the only valid means of doing full justice to the meaning of Scripture. The well-known five principles of exegesis--lexical, grammatica1, contextual, historical, and the analogy of faith--are all considered as basic for all serious work in Biblical research."81

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