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Biblical Interpretation: Past & Present Paperback – March 28, 2000

4.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Gerald L. Bray (Ph.D., La Sorbonne) is a professor at Beeson Divinity School of Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, and director of research at Latimer Trust. He has written and edited a number of books on different theological subjects. A priest of the Church of England, Bray has also edited the post-Reformation Anglican canons.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Academic (March 28, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830815651
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830815654
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #370,007 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Following an insightful introduction to the topic, the author takes the reader on an adventuresome survey of Biblical interpretation from the 1st century to the 20th. With a teacher's compassionate understanding, Mr. Bray provides key concepts without getting bogged down in endless details. To me, "Biblical Interpretation: Past and Present" reads more like a novel than a textbook. I hated sitting it down! For each major period in the development of Biblical interpretation (Patristic, Middle Ages, etc.) the reader is introduced to: (1) the key scholars and theologians (both conservative and liberal) of that period, (2) the key issues dealt with at that time, (3) the key methods employed and (4) a case study from the Scriptures. Throughout, Mr. Bray operates on two levels, revealing both (1) trend setting academic approaches and (2) what they have meant for the average person in the pew. This is one reference work I'm sure to come back to time and again.
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Format: Paperback
If you have any knowledge of the thorough-going Protestant (and Evangelical) tradition of scholarship you will know what I mean when I say that Gerald Bray's "Biblical Interpretation: Past and Present" conforms to those standards. Here we clearly have a hard-working scholar who painstakingly collects evidence, ploughs through sources and collates data. Bray has done that here in collecting together and collating a wide and varied mix of ways of interpreting the Bible from across the centuries after the birth of Christ.
The latter point on dating is important for this is a book with pastoral intent. Bray is a church member and writes for Christian readers. He seeks to offer practical help in reading and interpreting the Bible as much as he seeks to write a good and readable history of its interpretation. Further, since Bray is an evangelical Christian the text of his book shows evidence of this. The high view of the Bible, evidenced throughout the text, is ample demonstration of this.
Bray's method is chronological but then shades into idiosyncrasy ("social trends in interpretation"? All trends are social and especially with the Bible!). However, in each period/topic Bray gives a substantial orientation to what was/is going on (where the writer's own interests become more obvious the closer to the present we get), provides useful bibliographies (if occasionally biased to the evangelical or protestant), a list of interpreters from the time and/or place and a working example to show what the methods of biblical interpretation he details would look like in practice. This is, thus, a teacher writing and, if this book be ample evidence of that teacher's skills, not a bad one. I learnt from this book both about the history of biblical interpretation and about the practice of biblical interpretation. If you can put up with the odd evangelicalism then I think most other readers interested in biblical interpretation would too.
PoSTmodERnFoOL
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Format: Paperback
Bray's book is absolutely fantastic as a survey on the history of biblical exegesis. He provides a solid picture of each of the major historical periods in the development of modern exegesis. I can't recommend this book highly enough! Fantastic for college students or bible students.
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