Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Grace Theological Journal
Volume: GTJ 10:1 (Spring 1989)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

A Guide to Contemporary Hermeneutics: Major Trends in Biblical Interpretation, edited by Donald K. McKim. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1986. Pp. 312. $14.95. Paper.

Donald McKim, Professor of Theology at Dubuque Seminary, has given us another wide-ranging collection of articles on contemporary issues. Previously, he edited works on How Karl Barth Changed My Mind (Eerdmans, 1986) and The Authoritative Word (Eerdmans, 1983). This most recent work, focusing on issues in contemporary hermeneutics, is perhaps his most helpful work to-date. The articles are representative of theological worlds as distant as the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy, British evangelicalism (Anthony Thiselton), and reader response hermeneutics/liberation theologies (Bonino and Schussler Fiorenza). The contributors include Daniel Harrington, Bruce Birch, David Steinmetz, Gerhard von Rad, William LaSor, Walt Kaiser, Anthony Thiselton, Karlfried Froehlich, Thomas Gillespie, Patrich Keifert, Rene Padilla, Charles Kraft, Richard Jacobson, Thomas Provence, Peter Macky, Jose Bonino and Elizabeth Schussler Fiorenza.

The entries are divided into four parts: “Biblical Avenues,” “Theological Attitudes,” “Current Assessments,” and “Contemporary Approaches.” The initial section on “Biblical Avenues” contains offerings by Birch on OT hermeneutical concerns and by Harrington on NT hermeneutical issues. In addition, Steinmetz argues for the value of pre-critical exegesis as opposed to modern critical approaches, and von Rad and LaSor discuss issues of typology and sensus plenior. The first section basically deals with matters of canon, theological centers, sociological criticism, the value of the historical-critical method and the relation of the ancient and modern contexts of the author and interpreter (the two horizons).

The second section includes contributions by Thiselton and Kaiser, leaders in the contemporary debate over evangelical hermeneutics. Thiselton shows a broad grasp of issues in existential and linguistic studies in his articles, “The New Hermeneutic” and “The Legitimacy and Necessity of Hermeneutics.” The second article should be mandatory reading for all evangelical seminary students. Kaiser’s article characteristically sounds his concern for determining the single intent of the biblical author.

The third section presents essays by Froehlich, Gillespie and Keifert which wrestle with the relationships of meaning, language, interpretation and understanding. Froehlich’s article is very helpful in finding a balance between the outright acceptance or rejection of the historical-critical method.

The concluding essays include contemporary approaches that are more reader oriented rathe...

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