Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Faith and Mission
Volume: FM 20:3 (Summer 2003)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

Biblical Studies

Editor’s Note: The normal guidelines for length and date of publication have been waived for the following review in view of Dr. Konig’s recent stay at Southeastern as visiting professor of theology.

Initiation into Theology: The Rich Variety of Theology and Hermeneutics, edited by Simon Maimela and Adrio Konig. Pretoria: J. L. van Schaik Publishers, 1998. Pp. 493.

Hermeneutics and feminism are at a fascinating interface in biblical studies and theology. This review will look at both topics as they are treated in the collection of essays edited by Simon Maimela and Adrio Konig. There are two major parts to this book, section A: “Theology,” and section B: “Hermeneutics.” In both there is a general introduction to theology and hermeneutics as well as a history of each area leading up to the twentieth century. The chapters in the two respective sections correspond to one another in subject matter, i.e., chapter 7 on “Feminist and Womanist Theology” corresponds to chapter 21, “Feminist and Womanist Hermeneutics.” This book focuses on how the Bible is read by certain social, economic, or religious groups. The different chapter headings therefore include essays on topics such as Black Theology, Feminist and Womanist, African-Initiated Church, Pentecostal, Charismatic, Ecological, and Evangelical Theology, and Hermeneutics.

Hermeneutics. Hermeneutics is foundational to interpretation. As the editors say in their introduction, “One can only thoroughly understand a specific type of theology if one comes to grips with its hermeneutic” (p. 2). For this reason we will first evaluate and critique the treatments on hermeneutics before turning to a discussion of the chapters on theology. In chapter 16 (introductory to women’s issues), W. J. Wessels understands interpretation as a “dynamic, open-ended and ongoing process” (p. 272). According to Wessels, “There is more than one correct method of interpretation.” There should be a high regard for “freedom to bring in new interpretations due to our living experience of Christ in our own context.” This concept of “contextual theology” is prominent throughout the volume.

The First Nineteen Centuries. The author of chapter 17 faces the daunting task of surveying the history of hermeneutics in the first nineteen centuries after Christ. The history is divided into four major periods: the Early Church (lst-6th centuries A.D.), the Medieval Period (6th-15th centuries), the Reformation (15th-16th

centuries), and the Modern Post-Enlightenment Period (17th-20th centuries). The author points out that even writing the New Testament al...

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