Law Religion Culture Review

Exploring the intersections of law, religion and culture. Copyright by Richard J. Radcliffe. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

It's a Matter of Interpretation, Part VI.

Further explaining Justice Antonin Scalia's approach to interpreting legal texts, Kevin A. Ring writes in Scalia Dissents (2004):

"[T]he Court should ensure the meaning makes sense within the context of the law or code of which it is a part." (p. 24; emphasis added.)

Here is yet another intersection of law and theology in the world of textual interpretation. Many theologians actually elevate "context" to the governing principle of hermeneutics or biblical interpretation. I have heard it said that the three most important aspects to scriptural interpretation are context, context and context. Another explication of this school of interpretation is the expression, "scripture interprets scripture". This contextual approach is not as predominant in legal interpretation, but as you can see from the Ring excerpt it does figure into the analysis--at least in Justice Scalia's influential jurisprudence.