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Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutics: The Search for Meaning Hardcover – November 11, 2007

4.2 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Since its publication in 1994, An Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutics has become a standard text for a generation of students, pastors, and serious lay readers. This second edition has been substantially updated and expanded, allowing the authors to fine-tune and enrich their discussions on fundamental interpretive topics. In addition, four new chapters have been included that address more recent controversial issues: * The role of biblical theology in interpretation * How to deal with contemporary questions not directly addressed in the Bible * The New Testament's use of the Old Testament * The role of history in interpretation The book retains the unique aspect of being written by two scholars who hold differing viewpoints on many issues, making for vibrant, thought-provoking dialogue. What they do agree on, however, is the authority of Scripture, the relevance of personal Bible study to life, and why these things matter.

About the Author

Walter C. Kaiser Jr. (PhD, Brandeis University) is distinguished professor emeritus of Old Testament and president emeritus of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Massachusetts. Dr. Kaiser has written over 40 books, including Toward an Exegetical Theology: Biblical Exegesis for Preaching and Teaching; The Messiah in the Old Testament; and The Promise-Plan of God; and coauthored An Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutics: The Search for Meaning. Dr. Kaiser and his wife, Marge, currently reside at Kerith Farm in Cedar Grove, Wisconsin. Dr. Kaiser’s website is www.walterckaiserjr.com.

Moisés Silva taught biblical studies at Westmont College, Westminster Theological Seminary, and Gordon-Conwell Seminary. He is the author or coauthor of eight books and the revising editor of the Zondervan Encyclopedia of the Bible.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan; Revised ed. edition (November 11, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310279518
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310279518
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,047 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
_An Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutics_ is an exchange between two 'legends' in the field of modern biblical studies, at least from an evangelical perspective. Dr. Silva's chapter on "The Case for Calvinistic Hermeneutics" is worth the price of the book alone. In it, he shows that the pursuit of biblical interpretation (i.e., hermeneutics) cannot be fruitfully accomplished without an awareness of one's theological bias. As part of the 'hermeneutical spiral', the direction of biblical interpretation to theology is never only one way. There is a constant interaction between theology and interpretation. And, in Silva's view, it is not only good for us to admit this, but fundamentally flawed if we try to pretend that biblical interpretation could be done any other way. Biblical interpreters are no more _tabula rasa_ than anyone else. That illusion is the product of a so-called enlightened age that after two centuries is finally going the way of the dodo, even in the bastions of mainstream scholarship.

But Silva would not have us say, therefore, that, since we reject monolithic 'neutrality', all approaches are now de facto 'correct'. No, we must approach the text from the position it demands, which is to say, we must approach it as Christians. This 'bias' is the only way we can approach the Scripture with the hope of understanding it correctly, for this is precisely the framework through which its human authors wrote, and it is to just such a 'biased' audience as this that it is addressed to. It itself is no mere 'neutral' text, but "profitable" for the "man of God" (II Tim. 3:16). We do well to remember to adopt this approach, even as we seek to have this framework refined (and yes, challenged) by the insights we learn from diligent study
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This work was the central text for a seminary course in Hermeneutics, and I had anticipated a somewhat dry, calculated, formula based approach to Biblical interpretation. What I received was a tool chest of invaluable exegetical tools with which to treat the Word of the Living God with the highest honor that it deserves. Drs. Kaiser and Silva are very obviously not only theologians and scholars of the first order, they are lovers of God's Word, and they pursue Him in their lives and work. Their instruction shines the very passion of knowing and following Jesus, while using every intellectual tool that He has given us. This book has changed my approach to preaching and teaching, and will maintain a spot in my library...I plan to read and refer to it till the covers fall off!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book by Walter C. Kaiser, Jr. and Moises Silva is an excellent starting point for an investigation into all of the elements involved in Biblical hermeneutics (i.e. Biblical interpretation, as Silva so straightforwardly defines the term in the opening chapter).

The book is divided into four major parts (each part contains multiple chapters) which progressively build on one another; the interaction between the co-authors, as they take turns writing individual chapters, is remarkable. Kaiser and Silva do not always agree on all points, but the respectful interplay between their sometimes differing outlooks provides an example of what true scholarship is all about.

The four parts of the book have the following headings: 1) The Search for Meaning: Initial Directions (which includes general background information); 2) Understanding the Text: Meaning in Literary Genres; 3) Responding to the Text: Meaning and Application; and 4) The Search for Meaning: Further Challenges (which includes chapters on both the history of interpretation and contemporary approaches to interpretation).

The best thing about this book is that it is not so much a treatise on scholarly interpretation (though it certainly is scholarly), but that it attempts to help the reader to learn both how to interpret the Bible and then how to apply that interpretation to life. As the jacket copy of the book states, "In a culture that prizes individuality and personal freedom, the primary question is no longer 'Is it true?' but rather 'Does it matter?' Hence, the question of relevancy has taken precedence over the question 'What does the text mean?
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Format: Hardcover
For those wanting to know how one does proper hermeneutics this book is a good place to start. The authors (Walter Kaiser and Moises Silva) are conservative evangelical scholars and write from that perspective. Kaiser (who is a champion of multiple applications from a single text) and Silva (a traditional Reformed scholar) join together to help lay people and teachers on this important subject. Not only is this book good for seminarians who want to get a taste of hermeneutical methods, it also has a lot of practical applications for the laity who want to know how to read the Bible properly for personal devotion and life. Kaiser and Silva both avoid dry intellectualism, and write from a pastoral perspective too. Most of the chapters are good (especially Kaiser's), and most people will find this work very readable. However, I do have one concern over this book. It is a chapter written by Silva (Chapter 14: "The Case for Calvinistic Hermeneutics"). He contends that "proper exegesis should be informed by theological reflection. To put it in the most shocking way possible: my theological system should tell me how to exegete" (p. 261). True, Reformed theology's strength lies in its consistency, logic, coherence, and history. However, this can be its downful also (by the way, I am a Calvinist too). For instance, most in the Reformed tradition argue that Israel and the Church lie in continuity. Therefore, Israel as an ethnic body has no future in God's redemptive program. This leads them to reinterpret certain passages that speak of a national conversion of Israel near the Parousia (cf. Romans 11:26) to mean "spiritual Israel" (or the Church) or a "remnant" throughout history. Another example is Revelation 20.Read more ›
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