More good stuff from Steeped in the Holy (p. 32):
“The second approach to Scripture, beloved of academicians, is that of the scientist. When we approach a country or culture with the primary intention of studying it objectively, we focus not on the tourist attractions, but on the minutiae of daily life. We observe, catalog, define, dissect, and analyze, frequently relying on the input of our professional peers. We are curious, fascinated by uniqueness, looking for patterns and connections to our own cultures. We plan to write papers and books, to share the knowledge we have uncovered, and to return home as ‘experts.’
When we approach Scripture as a scientist, we focus on knowledge, putting the details together as a coherent whole. We explore the historical context, social structures, reliability of texts, issues of translation, and links with other texts. We turn to concordances, commentaries, and theologians for expert advice, and at the end of it all make a claim about what the text ‘means.’ The experience is, to a large extent, objective, and while faith may bring insight, it may just as easily be thought to cloud our interpretation. Our stance is that of a disinterested observer.”A good word, especially for theology students and similar types.