In order to reconcile the discrepancies between ancient and modern cosmology, confessional scholars from every viewpoint on the interpretation of the early chapters of Genesis agree that God accommodated language to finite human understanding. But in the history of interpretation, no consensus has emerged regarding what accommodation entails at the linguistic level. More precise consideration of how the ancient cognitive environment functions in the informative intention of the divine and human authors is necessary. Not only does relevance theory validate interpretative options that are inherently most probable within the primary communication situation, but the application of relevance theory can also help disentangle the complexities of dual authorship inherent in any model of accommodation. The results also make a salutary contribution to the theological reading of Scripture.
John W. Hilber is Professor of Old Testament at
Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. He has been both a teacher and pastor, and he
has authored several books and numerous academic articles relating the Old
Testament to its ancient Near Eastern background. His books include Ezekiel
(Cascade Books, 2019), Behind the Scenes of the Old Testament (coeditor, 2018),
and Cultic Prophecy in the Psalms (2005).