Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
TrinJ 15:2 (Fall 1994) p. 251
William W. Klein, Craig L. Blomberg, and Robert L. Hubbard, Jr. Introduction to Biblical Interpretation. Dallas: Word, 1993. 470 pp.
In an age when “hermeneutics” has become a buzzword and publications on the subject abound, there is need for expert guidance on proper methods for the study of Scripture. After Grant Osborne’s recent publication of The Hermeneutical Spiral, here is another major release on biblical interpretation. While Osborne’s book addresses the more advanced reader, Introduction to Biblical Interpretation is written to equip serious Bible students at a more fundamental level.
The reader is introduced to the current state of the hermeneutical debate in the first third of the book (150 pp.). How can one overcome the distance between the ancient and the contemporary contexts in biblical interpretation? Does an interpreter’s pre-understanding doom that person to perennial relativity and subjectivity? How does one decide which interpretation of a text is valid when choosing from a number of possible interpretations? Klein, Blomberg, and Hubbard provide the reader with a thorough road map to these preliminary but nevertheless vital hermeneutical issues.
The bulk of the book (220 pp.) is devoted to a presentation of general and special hermeneutics. The authors divide the former into rules for the interpretation of prose and poetry, and the latter into the genres of the OT and NT. The different kinds of literature treated include narrative, law, poetry, prophecy, and wisdom (OT); and gospels, Acts, epistles, and Revelation (NT). In their discussion of the rules for interpreting prose, the authors deal with five essential items: (1) literary context; (2) historical-cultural background; (3) word meanings; (4) grammatical relationships; and (5) literary genre.
In the final section of the book (50 pp. + 70 pp. of appendices) the authors address the contemporary uses of Scripture. The Bible is shown to be useful for personal study, worship, liturgy, theology, preaching and teaching, pastoring, spiritual formation, and for aesthetic enjoyment. The book closes with a four-step methodology for the legitimate application of Scripture. A section on modern approaches to interpretation, an extensive annotated bibliography (but no complete bibliography), and thorough indices are appended.
Generally, the authors succeed in covering a vast amount of material with admirable competence and conciseness. As a result, Introduction to Biblical Interpretation is an extremely valuable resource for college and seminary teaching as well as for personal study. In order to provide some guidance for those who will use the book in the future, a discussion of some of its stre...
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