In an introductory essay for his edited volume Modelling Early Christianity: Social-Scientific Studies of the New Testament in Its Context, Phillip Esler observes that
All human groups, however diverse, are capable of communicating with one another. Merely to entertain the possibility of one culture seeking to understand or even translate another presupposes the necessary foundations in human nature and human sociality which transcend ethnographic particularity (Esler 6).
Consequently, despite all of the task’s attendant dangers, there is this good reason, among others, to be hermeneutically hopeful when approaching the New Testament or other ancient pieces of literature, for “[t]ime is no[t] primarily a gulf to be bridged because it separates; it is actually the supportive ground of the course of events in which the present is rooted” (Gadamer 297).
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