Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Southeastern Theological Review
Volume: STR 07:2 (Winter 2016)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

Craig G. Bartholomew. Introducing Biblical Hermeneutics: A Comprehensive Framework for Hearing God in Scripture. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2015. 640pp. Hardback. ISBN 978–0801039775. $44.99.

The making of many books on the interpretation of the Bible has no end. In recent decades such book making has only proliferated in a Western culture that bends (or fractures) under the weight of postmodernism and nihilism. It is within and because of this context, one of “much darkness in our world,” that Craig Bartholomew offers his approach for “healthy biblical interpretation.” For Bartholomew, healthy biblical interpretation enables readers of Scripture to excavate from it the hidden pearl of great price, namely Jesus Christ (p. 5).

To excavate and enjoy this pearl he presents an interdisciplinary framework for hearing God’s address in Scripture. Bartholomew believes such hearing is the starting point and goal of biblical interpretation. He assumes a Trinitarian hermeneutic and a communication model of Scripture to achieve this goal (pp. 5–16, 410–15).

Bartholomew organizes Introducing Biblical Hermeneutics into five parts: approaching biblical interpretation (part one); biblical interpretation and biblical theology (part two); the story of biblical interpretation (part three); biblical interpretation and the academic disciplines (part four); and the goal of biblical interpretation (part five). In part one, he describes his Trinitarian hermeneutic (chapter 1) and the important role of listening to God through Scripture (chapter 2). He responsibly employs lectio divina (“divine reading”) as a method for such listening. Part two on biblical theology contains the story of the Bible (chapter 3) and the related story of biblical theology (chapter 4).

In part three, then, he proceeds with a history of biblical interpretation, covering the traditions in which we read (chapter 5), early and medieval Jewish interpretation (chapter 6), the Renaissance, Reformation and Modernity (chapter 7), and the history and theology of the canon (chapter 8). Part four includes his discussion of biblical interpretation and related academic disciplines: philosophy (chapter 9), history (chapter 10), literature (chapter 11), theology (chapter 12), and the role of Scripture within the university (chapter 13). Bartholomew concludes in part five with discussions of the Epistle to the Hebrews (chapter 14) and preaching the Bible (chapter 15).

A close reading of Introducing Biblical Hermeneutics confirms what one perceives at a quick glance: Bartholomew offers a complex but compelling framework for biblical interpretation. The convictions described in chapters 1–2 rightly ground his framework in...

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