You may wonder, ‘How did you come up with such a witty blog name?’ Well, let me tell you!
Google-Hermeneutics and Wiki-Exegesis
Hermeneutics is the art (science?) of interpretation. It’s the self-imposed principles we use to help us develop a self-aware reading of a given text. In the Internet Age, someone with minimal knowledge about any given topic will (likely) begin their quest for new knowledge using Google. Of course, this means that Google’s algorithm will have a role in determining the first websites they encounter. As you may have guessed, if I search ‘Who were Adam and Eve?’ it’s improbable that the first website I’ll be offered is a solid, research-grounded, website where a scholar has written something. In fact, when you do this precise search, your first result will be the hive-mind known as Wikipedia. The next few results when I did the search include Britannica.com (not bad), BibleStudyTools.com (ok), MyJewishLearning.com (good), so I’m not saying that Google is a terrible tool and I wish everyone would go to the library instead. What I am saying is that Google had a huge role in determining what someone learns and if the person just wants basic knowledge, then guess what? Wikipedia it is? Therefore, Google-Hermeneutics means that the art of interpreting the Bible (or the Quran or the religious practices of Hindus or the demographics of Buddhists in the United States) is greatly shaped by the power of Google.
Exegesis is the difficult work of trying to extract information from a text. It is when the reader tries to listen to the text on its own terms (whatever that might mean and however that might be possible). This might mean trying to read the text in the language written in originally. Or learning more about the historical-setting wherein the text was shaped. What then is ‘Wiki-Exegesis’? Well, a ‘wiki’, according to Wikipedia (meta!), is ‘a knowledge base website on which users collaboratively modify content and structure directly from the web browser‘. In other words, it is an evolving hive-mind. So, unlike say reading a commentary on the Epistle to the Romans written by Martin Luther a few centuries ago (which has limits to how it can evolve), one might read about the Epistle to the Romans on Wikipedia, where knowledge is always evolving, for better or worse. Also, a Wikipedia entry isn’t necessarily written by scholars of that subject, so you’re getting a variety of voices (again, for better or worse). Therefore, Wiki-Exegesis is how many people ‘interpret’ texts today. They do it collaboratively, hearing many voices that present views that are ever evolving and that come from faceless contributors who we may or may not trust to provide us with accurate information for reasons of which were unsure.