how should we apporach ethical norms in the Bible?


Answering a question on my boards:
I would be interested to know how people here think one should approach the Christian text for moral guidance.

We should always approach the Bible as an encounter between human and divine, but written by the human in an attempt to relate what the human understands of the encounter. Even the redactors who have not had actual prosthetic utterance may have a sense of the divine all their own and that may color their work.

To make this assumption is to recognize the cultural filter through which religoius experience is filtered. Of course this implies distortion. So we have to find the universal aspects of he message as opposed to the cultural bound aspects. To do that we must start with understanding the culture.

then we can perhaps find the same aspects in other cultures or other faiths, but we should essentially find the same themes repeated in the body of work we call "the Bible" (it is a body of work not a single coherent work) and other Hebrew writings and other Christian writings. This means looking at the Christina tradition as a repository to enable comparison, so we can look for precedents of interposition, and we can assume universality through time as well as through space.