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Dictionary of Major Biblical Interpreters Hardcover – November 12, 2007
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"The Scriptures, Old and New Testaments, have been the most thoroughly studied literary documents in the history of civilization. And sometimes the interpreters are almost as interesting as the texts they are reading. All who take the interpretation of the Bible seriously in our day will welcome this volume. After six historical essays, this volume introduces readers to more than two hundred of the most significant biblical interpreters, from the patristic period to modern times. By discussing each interpreter under four headings (context, life and work, interpretive principles, significance) and then concluding with a bibliography of the person's most significant writings, modern interpreters are invited into the studies and the lives of their predecessors. This is far and away the finest introduction to the colorful characters that have determined how scholars and laypeople have read the Bible for the past two thousand years. Bravo, InterVarsity Press!" (Daniel I. Block, Gunther H. Knoedler Professor of Old Testament, and Ph.D. Program Coordinator, Biblical Studies, Wheaton College Graduate School)
"This is an instructive, thought-provoking, generous-minded, reliable, absorbing, illuminating and imaginative work, often elegant, entertaining, incisive and provocative. It covers a remarkable galaxy of names, and it is written by people from a wide range of backgrounds, many of them world experts on their subject. Why did no one think of writing it before?" (John Goldingay, David Allan Hubbard Professor of Old Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary)
"I plan to make this volume a mainstay in my History of Interpretation course, where I previously assigned its predecessor, Historical Handbook of Major Biblical Interpreters. This new compendium has a larger number and wider range of articles. Older articles have been updated. In addition, Wirkungsgeschichte ("history of interpretation") is rapidly becoming more central to exegesis than it has been for generations. A biographical approach to the subject is effective for scholar and student alike, because it highlights the human and the historical, and that relates to our own existence and interests. I love this subject. Maybe that's why I love this book." (Robert W. Yarbrough, associate professor and New Testament department chair, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School)
"An impressive stable of international scholars, under the direction of veteran editor Donald McKim, have contributed to making this revised and enlarged edition of the Historical Handbook of Major Biblical Interpreters more comprehensive and user-friendly than the first edition. The new DMBI has now become even more indispensable for its contextualization of the work of biblical scholars from Abelard to Zwingli and for its provided six overviews of the major segments of the history of biblical interpretation. This useful handbook will prove to be a valuable resource for all theological disciplines and belongs on the shelf of every serious student of theology." (David E. Aune, Professor of New Testament, University of Notre Dame)
"With its revisions and expansion, this useful handbook has now become a major, if not indispensable, resource for biblical interpretation. Those of us who own the original will need to replace it with this much more comprehensive volume. In a time when biblical scholarship is once again turning to history and theology, this dictionary will help us know where to go and what to look for. In its pages one can see both the trees and the forest with clarity." (Patrick D. Miller, Charles T. Haley Professor of Old Testament Theology, Princeton Theological Seminary)
"Anyone interested in the history of interpretation--which today should include all of us--will profit from and appreciate this substantive volume, whose articles, unlike those in so many handbooks and dictionaries, are consistently of high quality. This revised edition, with its many new entries, is an advance beyond its excellent predecessor, and the generous and updated bibliographies will be of great assistance to those wishing to pursue further research." (Dale C. Allison Jr., Errett M. Grable Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary)
"This dictionary is an essential resource for the study of biblical interpretation throughout the ages. Written by world-class scholars, it is both trustworthy and accessible. The organization of each individual article into 'Context,' 'Life and Work,' 'Interpretive Principles,' 'Significance' and 'Bibliography' quickly orients the reader to each interpreter. Historical introductions will help readers track the broader hermeneutical developments throughout the history of biblical interpretation. In this present age of hermeneutical awareness, this is an indispensable volume, helping contemporary readers see the strengths and weaknesses of both past and present approaches to Scripture." (Mark J. Boda, Ph.D. (Cantab.), Professor, Faculty of Theology, McMaster University)
"Ten years after the appearance of its well-received predecessor, the Dictionary of Major Biblical Interpreters joins the ranks of InterVarsity Press's flagship series of reference works. Here is an excellent selection of entries covering a greatly expanded sweep of influential commentators ancient and modern, Catholic and Protestant, 'conservative' and 'progressive,' often contextualized with illuminating biographical information. The well-documented, often substantive essays benefit from an impressive international team of authors, many of whom are themselves representative of the state of the art of contemporary biblical interpretation. Serious students of the story of biblical interpretation will do well to clear another four inches on their reference shelf for this latest InterVarsity Press dictionary." (Markus Bockmuehl, Professor of Biblical and Early Christian Studies, Keble College, University of Oxford)
"This volume provides a thorough introduction to the major figures in the history of exegesis. It is a useful resource both as a work of reference and as a guide to further reading." (Anthony N. S. Lane, director of research and professor of historical theology, London School of Theology)
"Reading through these evenhanded presentations of our predecessors in the work of biblical interpretation is both a humbling and at the same time energizing experience. By providing a judicious selection of leading interpreters throughout the history of the church, the DMBI has made me realize anew how much we owe to our predecessors, while their faithfulness, often in the face of considerable adversity, is an inspiring example which will drive me back to the text of Scripture with renewed vigor and determination." (H. G. M. Williamson, Regius Professor of Hebrew, University of Oxford)
About the Author
Donald K. McKim is academic and reference editor for Westminster John Knox Press. He is the author and editor of a number of books including the Encyclopedia of the Reformed Faith, The Cambridge Companion to John Calvin, Calvin and the Bible and The Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms.
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While there is much to love about the dictionary, most helpful is how each bible interpreter's entry is formatted (mostly) in the same fashion, with basic "Life/Backgrounds" giving way to "Works/Themes", and followed by "Significance". Each entry ends with a helpful "Bibliography" which contains the primary works of a theologian, followed by significant studies done over their thought and influence. Some biblical interpreters are given more space given their historical impact and reception (Luther, Calvin, Schleiermacher, Aquinas, Barth, etc.), but even so, it doesn't feel disproportional. Even lesser-known (though still influential) interpreters, such as C.K. Barrett, Hugh of St. Victor, Norman Perrin, Ceslas Spicq, etc. are given ample space. The reader leaves each entry with (at least) a cursory knowledge of the thinker, but can pursue them further if desired.
As a side note, the quality of the hardback/binding is outstanding. With such large books, the weight alone can tend to break a book down through continuous handling, but in my 10+ years of owning the book, and through many moves and shelf rearrangements, the book is still in excellent condition. The "Dictionary of Major Biblical Interpreters" is a must have for pastors, scholars, lay-persons and any/all arm-chair theologians!