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Invitation to Biblical Interpretation: Exploring the Hermeneutical Triad of History, Literature, and Theology (Invitation to Theological Studies Series) Hardcover – November 7, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


"The great merit of Kostenberger's and Patterson's volume is its three-dimension account of biblical interpretation. The authors rightly focus on the history, literature, and theology of the Bible--what they call the hermeneutical triad. Call it hermeneutics in real 3-D. A three-stranded hermeneutical cord may not be easily broken, but it's easy to grasp by following this introductory textbook. Another plus is the authors' reminder that biblical interpretation is not only about method but about virtue: a heartfelt humility before the divine text is as important as any heady procedure." --Kevin J. Vanhoozer, Blanchard Professor of Theology, Wheaton College and Graduate School

"I am filled with admiration. I learned much from this vigorous book. It is a work of great clarity that summarizes the best principles of general hermeneutics with the best principles of biblical interpretation. Professor Kostenberger's students are lucky to have such a trenchant and learned guide--and so are the readers of this fine book." --E. D. Hirsch Jr., Professor Emeritus of Education and Humanities, University of Virginia, and Founder, Core Knowledge Foundation

"There are certain topics of must reading for serious Bible students--hermeneutics is at the top. There are certain books of must reading for a topic. Andreas Kostenberger's work on hermeneutics is one of them. It is clear, concise, and yet deep, and manages to cover most of the needed areas. Thus it becomes an invaluable guide for the student working through the labyrinth of issues that make up the task of biblical interpretation. It will enable the reader to bridge the gap from understanding biblical portions in their original cultural context and from showing their relevance to a modern audience. I recommend it very highly." --Grant Osborne, Professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

"Invitation to Biblical Interpretation is destined to become the standard textbook for colleges and seminaries for the foreseeable future. It is simply the best work available in the field of biblical hermeneutics. It is comprehensive in its breadth and in depth at all the right places. And it is well written! I will be certain to make it my anchor text as I teach biblical hermeneutics." --Daniel L. Akin, President, Professor of Preaching and Theology, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

"Andreas Kostenberger and Richard Patterson, two brilliant and experienced interpreters of Holy Scripture, have produced a first-rate volume on biblical hermeneutics. Distinctive in its approach, with a focus on the 'hermeneutical triad,' this monumental publication is encyclopedic in its thoroughness, masterful in its organizational design, and skillful in its pedagogical emphasis. The clear discussions in each chapter, followed by helpful and informative bibliographies, will make this book a rich resource for students, scholars, and pastors for years to come. I am truly excited about the publication of Invitation to Biblical Interpretation." --David S. Dockery, President, Professor of Christian Thought and Tradition, Union University

"I am truly impressed. This introduction to hermeneutics covers all the bases, and I mean all of them. Read this book and you will be well prepared for the task of serious interpretation." --Tremper Longman, Robert H. Gundry Professor of Biblical Studies, Westmont College

"This introduction to hermeneutics is outstanding in several ways: It takes full account of the unique divine authorship of the Bible; it is clear, readable, and doctrinally sound; it attends to the spiritual state of the interpreter; it provides detailed guidance for understanding the historical background, literary and linguistic features, and theological significance of each text; it is coauthored by an Old Testament and a New Testament professor; and it insists that right interpretation must end in application to life. It is an excellent book that will be widely used as a standard textbook for years to come." --Wayne Grudem, Research Professor of Theology and Biblical Studies, Phoenix Seminary

"This book on biblical interpretation combines training in exegesis with a basic knowledge of hermeneutics. It urges careful consideration of historical, literary, and theological issues. Thus, historically, it includes helpful chronological charts, and much on cultural history. Its literary focus includes canon, genre, and language. Its theological dimension includes application. Genre is crucial: thus narrative, poetry and wisdom are distinguished in the Old Testament; and parable, epistles, and apocalyptic, in the New. Why responsible interpretation requires toil and labor receives careful explanation. This book contains plenty of common sense, sanity, and love of Scripture. I commend it especially to students, teachers, and even pastors, as helping all of us to use the Bible responsibly and fruitfully." --Anthony C. Thiselton, Professor of Christian Theology, University of Nottingham

"A major task--perhaps the major task--of hermeneutics is to clarify the meaning of texts. This work by Kostenberger and Patterson not only succeeds brilliantly in elucidating the fundamental principles and processes of biblical hermeneutics but itself is a model of how a book ought to be written. Its conception, organization, systematic development, and applications--all work together to make this the finest contribution of its kind to biblical scholarship. There is no stodginess or impenetrable 'academese' here. Layman and scholar alike will find it to be a virtual treasure house of sane and sensible hermeneutical practice." --Eugene H. Merrill, Distinguished Professor of Old Testament Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary

"Don't be misled by the title; this is no typical hermeneutics primer. Here, in considerable detail, covering both introductory and more advanced topics, and interacting with the most current and classic scholarship, is a one-stop shopping resource for the entire exegetical process for the most capable seminary students, pastors, and teachers. Particularly distinctive and/or helpful are the discussions of Old Testament chronology, interpreting Revelation, discourse analysis, grammatical fallacies, biblical theology, and homiletical method. Warmly recommended." --Craig L. Blomberg, Distinguished Professor of New Testament, Denver Seminary

"Invitation to Biblical Interpretation offers a thorough, scholarly, Scripture-honoring approach to biblical hermeneutics that lays the foundations for genuine expository preaching. Under its 'hermeneutical triad' of the preaching text's historical setting, literary dimensions, and theological message, the book provides a balanced approach even as it explores most of the topics discussed in contemporary biblical hermeneutics. It is well researched and documented and clearly written and illustrated. This student-friendly book is not only an excellent text for a seminary course in biblical hermeneutics but is equally useful for independent study. I highly recommend this book for all who desire to preach and teach the Word faithfully and accurately." --Sidney Greidanus, Professor of Preaching Emeritus, Calvin Theological Seminary

"This is a well-written, clear, and thorough book on the principles of biblical interpretation for the whole Bible. It would be an excellent book for an upper-level hermeneutics course at the college level or an introductory hermeneutics course at the seminary level. Pastors will also find this a useful book to get an overview of the interpretative principles for different parts of the Bible from which they are preparing to preach. Seminary students and pastors will also benefit from the concluding chapter that applies the interpretative approach of the book to the task of preaching. The authors rightly contend that hermeneutics is to be viewed through the triadic lens of history, literature, and theology. This is not so much a theoretical approach to hermeneutics but a competent hands-on guide for interpreting the different kinds of literature that one encounters in the Bible. In this respect, each chapter helpfully concludes with a sample passage in which the principles discussed in the chapter are applied and illustrated, followed by study questions for the student and important bibliographical resources pertaining to the chapter. This is one of the best general and most thorough introductions to interpreting the English Bible that I have read." --Gregory K. Beale, Professor of New Testament and Biblical Theology, Westminster Theological Seminary

"Kostenberger's Invitation to Biblical Interpretation is just that, a rich invitation to engage Scripture as God's Word, making appropriate use of all available tools. His triadic approach is fresh and helpfully non-reductive. This work is wide-ranging and in touch with contemporary scholarly trends while written and produced in a thoroughly accessible way for student, pastor, and professor. Highly recommended." --Craig Bartholomew, Professor of Religion and Theology, Redeemer University College

"In this triad dance of history, literature, and theology, as they move across the floor of biblical interpretation, Kostenberger and Patterson excel at sorting through and clearly presenting massive amounts of material across a wide spectrum of cognate disciplines. Written in a down-to-earth style, the book is as accessible as it is broad, as practical as it is informed on contemporary discussions of these difficult matters. From the particulars of Greek grammar and discourse analysis to helpful introductions on canon, biblical theology, and appropriate application, here one again and again finds a welcome orientation to the bread-and-butter concepts, sound practices, and tools needed for handling the biblical text responsibly and the spiritual posture for approaching it reverently. I am impressed and looking forward to putting this book in the hands of my students, who will find here a rich, expansive resource from which to draw guidance for years to come." --George H. Guthrie, Benjamin W. Perry Professor of Bible, Union University

"This is indeed a warm invitation to interpret the Bible responsibly, passionately, and practically. Showing readers how to explore the context, literature, and theology of the biblical books, the authors provide a guide to all phases of interpretation. The work climaxes in particularly helpful instructions on how to move from study of the text to crafting of the sermon. Novices should not be put off by the size of the volume. Although comprehensive in scope and breadth, the style of writing and the practical helps at the end of each chapter ensure that the concepts conveyed will be readily grasped even by non-professionals. If students of Scripture are seeking a single volume to which they can turn for practical assistance in interpretation, this is the book to get. Thank you, Kregel Publishers, for making their work available to us." --Daniel I. Block, Gunther H. Knoedler Professor of Old Testament, Wheaton College

About the Author

Andreas J. Köstenberger is founder of Biblical Foundations and senior research professor of New Testament and Biblical Theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina. He is a leading evangelical scholar, a prolific author, and editor of the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society.

Richard D. Patterson (PhD, University of California, Los Angeles) is distinguished professor ermeritus at Liberty University. He has written well over 100 articles for major publishers and periodicals, including commentaries on Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah (Moody) and Joel and Kings (with Hermann Austel) for the second edition of the Expositor's Bible Commentary Series.

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Product Details

  • Series: Invitation to Theological Studies Series
  • Hardcover: 896 pages
  • Publisher: Kregel Academic & Professional (November 7, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 082543047X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0825430473
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.2 x 1.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #100,428 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr. Andreas Kostenberger is Founder of Biblical Foundations™ and Senior Research Professor of New Testament & Biblical Theology at Southeastern Seminary. Check out his new course, God's Design for Man & Woman, at www.biblemesh.com, buy his latest book, The First Days of Jesus, and pre-order his forthcoming books Women in the Church (3rd ed.) and Going Deeper with New Testament Greek. See also his website, www.biblicalfoundations.org; and follow him on twitter @akostenberger.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Andreas J. Köstenberger and Richard D. Patterson have a daunting task ahead of them, to engage me personally and bringing me to a conclusion that they have succeeded in creating a textbook for proper biblical interpretation which takes into account historical and literary contexts while understanding the role of Christian theology in examining these things.

In their note to teachers, students and readers, they write that the time for a new context has developed. They note that in the hermeneutical geometry, there is the circle, the spiral, and now the triangle. Of course, it is only the stylizing and codification of the new triad, represented by a triangle, which is new. They note that other scholars, such as Longman and Dillard, have used the three areas which they will seek to employ. Further, they are also not prepared to say that their method is exclusive, but instead, they leave insight for the other two shapes and even gives their importance. In my opinion, they are succeeding where others fail because they aren't arguing for exclusivity, but are urging that their new way is simply a different way. Their difference is pronounced. "(R)ather than moving from general to special hermeneutics, we move from special to general. In doing so, we are building on the enormous amount of recent scholarship on the importance of the canon, theology, metanarrative, and Scripture as "theodrama" (p25)." This idea of canon first may be putting off to some, myself included, but this is theology, and not biblical studies, so I can, and you should, allow some room for canonical criticism. Further, they are unabashedly conservative in their approach to Scripture as they almost immediately declare that they will consider Scripture as "inerrant.
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Format: Hardcover
I wish I had been assigned this book for Exegetical Methods.

I wish I had been assigned this book for Hermenuetics.

I wish I had been assigned this book for Systematic Theology.

I wish I had been assigned this book for Pentateuch.

I wish I had been assigned this book for Prophets.

I wish I had been assigned this book for Gospels.

I wish I had been assigned this book for all of my seminary classes!

And I wish I had had this book for all the small groups I've led over the years.

Over the past few weeks, I've been reading hermeneutics and loving it. My friends and family think I'm crazy, but this book is so well written, so interesting, so easy to understand that it's a pleasure to read it. This amazing book is Invitation to Biblical Interpretation: Exploring the Hermeneutical Triad of History, Literature, and Theology by Andreas J. Kostenberger and Richard D. Patterson.

Weighing in at almost 900 pages, this book is a seminary education in itself. Frankly, it's better than most of the books assigned in my Fuller classes. In addition to thoroughly discussing the grammatical-historical method, Kostenberger and Patterson provide an excellent, theologically based biblical overview. I seriously could use it for background for almost class or bible study.

Each chapter starts with objectives and an outline, and ends with summaries, key words, study questions, and assignments. The text is interesting and easy to read. And excellent footnotes offer further information, contrasting views, or textual issues. If I were looking for one reference work to help me lead a bible study, this would be it.
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"Wow! An awesome book! What a lot of useful things to begin working into my own interpretive practices!" Those were my first thoughts as finished reading Invitation to Biblical Interpretation, by Andreas Kostenberger and Richard D. Patterson. Their book is sub-titled Exploring the Hermeneutical Triad of History, Literature and Theology and they have put together a comprehensive guide to help navigate the path of Biblical interpretation, so that the person preparing to preach can do so thoroughly and for one overarching purpose: the faithful proclamation of God's word.

The authors' thesis is that proper study of a Biblical text in preparation for preaching involves studying the text from three different perspectives. They are the historical setting of the text, its individual literary characteristics, and the theology it expresses. In the first chapter they provide an overview of their thesis and an introduction to their method. This includes a comparative discussion of other models of exegesis, highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of those models, as well as the historical settings that they arose in. Then they embark on a systematic discussion of their proposed method.

Part 1 explores the importance of the "context of scripture", i.e. history. In order to properly probe a Biblical text we need to understand and consider the historical-cultural setting in which it was written, so that we can accurately discern how an ancient text can speak vibrantly into our time and culture.

Part 2 deals with the "focus of scripture", i.e. scripture as literature. This part comprises the bulk of the book, being subdivided into units of canon, genre and language.
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