Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 13:3 (Summer 1970)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

An Introduction to the New Hermeneutic. By Paul J. Achtemeier. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1969. 190 pp. including indices. $6.50. Reviewed by George C. Fuller, First Presbyterian Church, Duluth, Minn.

Each phase of church history seems to be marked by controversy over some aspect of Christian thought. In recent decades a crucial question has been that of authority. Today attention is focused on the hermeneutical problem: “…whether it is possible to put an ancient text (the Bible) at the basis of an affirmation of faith designed to be understood, and taken seriously by modern man” (p. 13). Only “evangelicals” will see that today’s debate with regard to hermeneutics is still largely a question of authority. Others will be proceeding on the basis of what they believe to be the resolution of the latter issue.

An Introduction to the New Hermeneutic is not a creative work. It is intended rather as an introduction to the hermeneutic principles of Gerald Ebeling and, more especially, Ernst Fuchs. The last half of the book is a lucid survey that may serve well, as the author hopes, “… for the time being at least, as an introduction to the thought of Ernst Fuchs” (p. 8). Earlier chapters in the book discuss background material: the earlier Heidegger (on Being and man), the later Heidegger (on truth, thought and language), Bultmann (including a brief review of critique, pp. 69-70) and an interesting synopsis of some data which display the great importance of language (pp. 71-83).

It is important to be familiar with the vocabulary of the “new hermeneutic.” Achtemeier gives abbreviated attention to new views of many things: the Word of God (p. 96), myth (“the enemy of the Gospel,” p. 99), faith (“a relation to the future, a relation which by its very nature changes the future,” p. 104), Jesus’ identity as God (p. 134), the resurrection (p. 140), the meaning of the cross (pp. 143-148), miracles (p. 139).

The last chapter (“Reflections on the New Hermeneutic”) is a helpful summary of this summary. The critique which the reader is led to expect at this point is reserved for the last few pages. Achtemeier sees the “new hermeneutic” as being inconsistent in its views of man (and his faith) and language (and history). He also suggests that its proponents have not satisfactorily “come to terms with the New Testament witness to Christ risen from the dead” (p. 165).

Faith and Reform: A Reinterpretation of Aggiornamento. Edited by Jonathan Robinson. New York: Fordham University Press, 1969. $6.00. Reviewed by W. Stanford Reid, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario.


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