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Interpreting the New Testament Paperback – March 15, 2001
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About the Author
David S. Dockery is President and Professor of Christian Studies, Union University. He has written and contributed to many articles and books and is the founding editor of the Criswell Theological Review. He and his family currently reside in Jackson, Tennessee.
David Alan Black currently serves as Professor of New Testament and Greek at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina. He has written or edited over 100 essays and 14 books, including Learn to Read New Testament Greek. He and his wife and sons live on a ranch near Oxford, North Carolina.
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Interpreting the New Testament Text
Black & Dockery
This is a very good introduction to a wide variety of issues related to the interpretation of the New Testament. The topics range from methodology: textual criticism, source criticism, and form criticism etc. to issues such as background studies, the use of the Old Testament in the New Testament, and the utilization of modern linguistics in biblical interpretation. There are also useful summaries on interpreting the Pauline Epistles, The Gospel of John, The Book of Revelation, and other New Testament books. The authors represent the best in New Testament scholarship – names like Darrell Bock, Scot McKnight, Thomas Schreiner, and Gary Burge to name a few.
Overall, this is a very helpful book and makes for a nice read for undergraduates and seminarians. The authors hold to a high view of the Bible and make many insightful comments. For example, the authors point out that one can benefit from many of the critical and literary interpretative methodologies if one uses discretion and is careful not to imbibe unbiblical presuppositions (cf. Darrell Bock for example).
Part one is an introduction that contains the first two essays. The first one on authority, hermeneutics, and criticism by Peter Davids is quite provocative. Though I cannot agree with every statement he made, I couldn’t help being instructed by what he shared. The second chapter provides a fine historical survey of New Testament interpretation.
Part two contains essays 3-8 covering the basic methods in New Testament interpretation. All told, textual, source, form, redaction, literary, and sociological criticism are all covered in turn. Though I am skeptical of the value several of these critical methods, I find these essays outstanding in explaining what each of these criticisms are. Whether we agree or not, these critical methods play such a part in the modern scholarly world that we must at least grasp what they mean. Though these authors may find more value here than I do, they still write in a conservative vein.
Part three is the largest section and contains essays 9-22. Highlights include an explanation of the use of the Old Testament in the New Testament and another chapter on discourse analysis. Beginning in essay 13 several of the following chapters cover the literary genres of the Scripture. To my mind, these are some of the most difficult elements of hermeneutics and are a place where we can use help. I appreciated the final essay on New Testament interpretation and preaching by Richard Wells that reminds us that the task of interpretation is to lead us to the sermon.
Again, I feel this book quite valuable to have in your hermeneutic library. As I said before, I do not see it as a first choice for a hermeneutics textbook, but as an outstanding aid for extra reading in areas we find difficult to understand. It’s refreshing to have a conservative resource for such help. I think you ought to check out this book.
I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.