Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
BSac 142:568 (Oct 85) p. 371
Exegetical Fallacies. By D. A. Carson. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1984. 153 pp. Paper, $7.95.
It took courage to write a book like this! The author, who teaches New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, is not afraid to single out many prominent scholars for critique as he assesses a wide range of interpretive errors. In the process Carson has made a significant contribution to the ongoing discussion of biblical exegesis.
Following an introduction, the writer discusses “word-study fallacies,” “grammatical fallacies,” “logical fallacies,” and “presuppositional and historical fallacies.” The material is unfailingly interesting and for the most part very helpful to potential exegetes. Indeed, even a knowledgeable lay reader will find much here that is instructive.
In taking aim at numerous interpretive mistakes, the author naturally scores many “kills.” But occasionally he misfires. It is extremely questionable, for example, that Carson is right to press the past-tense force of γεγόναμεν in Hebrews 3:14 (p. 88), since the form may be a mere copula with present force. Equally the writer’s unexamined assumption that 1 Corinthians 11:2–15 refers to church gatherings is a fallacy in its own right (p. 99).
With commendable impartiality the writer takes aim at liberal and conservative writers alike, his own dean (!), himself (pp. 41-43)—and the present reviewer! However, when he says of the reviewer’s book (The Gospel Under Siege) that “to the best of my knowledge not one significant interpreter in the entire history of the church has held to Hodges’s interpretation of the passage he treats” (p. 137), he is shockingly inaccurate. The statement falls under the category of “unwarranted generalization and overspecification” (p. 110), a fault only slightly mitigated by the words
BSac 142:568 (Oct 85) p. 372
“to the best of my knowledge.” It is likely that other authors may feel similarly aggrieved.
Nevertheless the book needs to be read. Many of its cautions are salutary and urgently needed.
Z. C. Hodges
Today’s Sects. By Maurice C. Burrell and J. Stafford Wright. 2d ed. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983. 128 pp. Paper, $4.50.
This is a revised edition of the book Some Modern Faiths, first published in Britain in 1973. The cults are examined unemotionally and factually with a careful evaluation of the ways in which they differ from Christianity. The cults discu...
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