Hermeneutics as Art

Lauren DiCioccio

(Pre- PostScript: Hermeneutics simply means the method/theory of biblical interpretation.)

Hampton sent along a link to the work of artist Lauren DiCioccio in her comment to my Statistics as Art post below. I was so enamored by the picture and concept that I’ve been thinking about it off and on all day. DiCioccio takes old fashion magazine articles and assigns each letter a color, and then paints these little color dots over each character along the page. I think the results are stunning – YOU GUYS, I CANNOT STOP STARING AT IT! – so I bought myself the one pictured above to hang in my office.

Her artistic transformation of this Vogue article about who-knows-what got me thinking about the way we read Scripture- or, more broadly, the way we encounter Scripture. It’s often so hard to know how to restore a sense of wonder to Scripture verses and stories that have become trite and in many cases devoid of meaning or transformative power for us. (Familiarity can breed apathy just as much as the faceless numbers of statistics can.) This is especially true if you’ve been told what to believe about Scripture more often than you’ve actually encountered the stories of Scripture.

DiCioccio has made something like a modern-day version of an illustrated manuscript, which is one of the few things I adore about the Medieval Ages. (Crusades? No. Illustrated manuscripts? OUI.) These Medieval illustrated/illluminated manuscripts did more than just provide context for people who couldn’t read. They also implied that these stories are more than just words; not simply rules or laws but beauty and life abundant. They symbolize a devotion that is not staid but in action, the movement of God that happens in between even those words that may have become for us too familiar, bringing them back to life.

If DiCioccio can make a Vogue article look this beautiful, imagine what kind of transformative, creative power we’d feel if we could imagine Scripture in the same way?


  1. Scott ShirleyAugust 21, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    I’ve done a lot of painting and drawing around a similar process, but with business forms: flowcharts, spreadsheets, letters. It reshapes and revitalizes the meaning, particularly when you then display it as art.

    Jenny Holzer did a lot with redacted CIA documents in her recent work. She displayed them like geometric abstractions, but her point wasn’t merely about the formal coincidence. Rather, she is concerned with how meaning is made in public discourse, that the hand of the redactor (or the illuminator in the case of scripture) is visible in the way that meaning is created.

  2. oh man, i love jenny holzer, i’ve just never realized before who i was loving! i’ve seen images from her ‘truisms’ series all over the internet and never known who was behind them. good to know :)

  3. that it is not possible to dicorve Christians from some’ relationship to the new covenant so described. Since Dr. Decker describes this new covenant as the one promised to the nation of Israel then we must conclude that Christian’s have a relationship to the New Covenant of Jeremiah 31:31.That completely contradicts the foundational teaching of traditional dispensationalism. Lewis Sperry Chafer understood that the Body of Christ represents a intercalation which has neither a direct nor an indirect relationship to any divine purpose which precedes it or which follow it. In other words, the Body of Christ has neither a direct relationship nor an indirect relationship to Israel’s New Covenant.According to Dr. Decker there cannot be an intercalation since those in the Body of Christ do have a relationship with the New Covenant of Jeremiah 31:31. His position supports the teaching of the Progressive Dispensationalists who also deny the teaching of Chafer in regard to the Church intercalation. Dr. Decker fails to see that the New Diatheke promised to the nation of Israel is but a type and the antitype is the New Diatheke which is in force at the present time.In His grace,Jerry

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