Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Faith and Mission
Volume: FM 24:2 (Spring 2007)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous


Book Reviews

Biblical Studies

Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of the Bible, edited by Kevin J. Vanhoozer Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2005. Pp. 896.

Grammatical exegesis is essential for biblical studies. The study of historical context and setting is also essential. These essays agree on that, but the third principle of interpretation, theological interpretation, is also a basic principle for understanding the Bible. About 160 scholars contributed one or more articles to this project.

Articles on the Atonement, Incarnation, Miracle, Kingdom of God, Genealogy, Image of God, Imagery, Trinity, Revelation, Sufficiency, and Authority are all expected. The various books of the Bible are treated in separate articles. Robert Gundry writes the article on the Gospel of Matthew. There are articles on various schools or types of interpretation, such as: Tubingen School, Form Criticism, Critical Realism, Narrative Criticism, and Liberation Theologies.

For some reason, there is an article on Karl Barth (by John Webster), Paul Ricoeur (by the editor), and Dietrich Bonhoffer (by John W. de Gundry). Only Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, and John Calvin get similar attention. Are these really the only seven theologians that should be included? Origen, for example, is simply cross-referenced to five other articles where he is mentioned. Rudolf Bultmann is cross-referenced to two other articles. Anthony Thiselton is cross-referenced to four other articles.

John Frame was asked to write the article on “Apologetics.” He makes many good points, but not surprisingly ends up defending Van Til’s work as being the closest to the biblical model. Scott McKnight was not very helpful on “Apostasy.” He suggests that apostasy recognizes human responsibility but is also fully compatible with God’s sovereignty and election. Douglas Farrow, on the other hand, argues effectively that the doctrine of the ascension ought to become an organizing principle for the reading of Scripture. I strongly concur.

One of the good features of this dictionary is the series of articles on interpretive communities: e.g., African, Asian, Catholic, charismatic, feminist, liberal, liberation, medieval, Orthodox, patristic, postmodemity, and Protestant biblical interpretation.

Michael Travers, of Southeastern’s faculty, offers two outstanding articles on “Formalism” and “Poetry.” Steven Spencer gives a good and fair descriptive review of the main views regarding last things. Kent Richards contributes a unique article naming and describing scholarly societies.

Craig Bartholomew defines postmodernism (surprisingly) as the intensification of consumerism, but he also says...

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