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Exegetical Fallacies Paperback – March 1, 1996
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About the Author
D. A. Carson (PhD, University of Cambridge) is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, and is the author or editor of more than fifty books, including The God Who Is There and How Long, O Lord? He is one of the founders of The Gospel Coalition and an active guest lecturer in academic and church settings around the world.
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1. Word-Study Fallacies
2. Grammatical Fallacies
3. Logical Fallacies
4. Presuppositional and Historical Fallacies
5. Concluding Reflections
Chapters one and two really focus on word-study and grammar fallacies as they pertain to the New Testament Greek. So someone with little familiarity with that language might not profit as much from these chapters (although I think they still might profit if nothing else in being able to detect those fallacies when they're produced by others).
Chapters three, four, and five I think could be useful to anyone and should probably be read by everyone who has any kind of exegetical teaching ministry in his or her church.
The whole book was fascinating and sobering. It warns us of the fallacies we are so easily prone to commit (especially when we are trying to safe-guard a pet doctrine), and it serves to help us better detect such fallacies in others.
The real excitement though (and I think a must-read for anyone really) is the Introduction. It is here where the sobering remarks most prominently affect the reader's heart and make him examine himself (or herself) more carefully when doing the task of exegesis or just the task of trying to understand God's Word, period.
"Exegetical Fallacies" exceeded my expectations. In addition to his cogent and readable writing style, Dr. Carson is successful in striking a balance between addressing the material (i.e. presuppositional, logical, grammatical and word-study fallacies) and the temptation to digress into areas of hermeneutics that exceed the scope of this book. I believe that any serious student of the scriptures who subscribes to a high opinion of the Word of God will benefit from Dr. Carson's thoughts. A second reading of key portions of this work has convinced me that it justly deserves the highest rating. Both church leader and layman deserve the use of tools and concepts that (potentially at least) would make the exegesis of scripture less cumbersome and murky. Being aware of pitfalls that can ensnare the most diligent of us will make our stewardship more manageable. Dr. Carson's efforts constitute a refreshing step in the right direction.
The categories of fallacies that he address are:
1. Word-Study Fallacies are fallacies that come from finding meaning of a text through improperly isolating the meanings of the individual words in the text.
2. Grammatical Fallacies are fallacies that come from finding meaning of a text through improperly isolating the meanings from specific grammatical structures that may or may not correctly identify the author's intent.
3. Logical Fallacies are fallacies that improperly arrive at conclusions from inadequate justification.
4. Presuppositional and Historical Fallacies are fallacies that ignore the interpreters' biases as he approaches the text and the effect of the biases on the interpretations.
Carson does a great job in summarizing many common exegetical fallacies. This book is both brief and detailed. Readers may be frustrated that the book is either too brief to fully understand the details or too detailed for an introduction to the topic.