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Protestant Biblical Interpretation: A Textbook of Hermeneutics Paperback – August 1, 1999
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About the Author
Bernard Ramm (1916-92) taught for over forty years at evangelical colleges and seminaries. He wrote several books, including The Christian View of Science and Scripture, After Fundamentalism: The Future of Evangelical Theology, and Offense to Reason: The Theology of Sin.
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The effect of this distinctive approach had a very different effect upon me for the three major themes that the book carried. The first third is a survey of the historic schools of interpretation. This spanned from the work of the early fathers through to modern philosophic schools. Some of the work on early interpretation I found historically interesting. The work on more modern schools will be less useful to someone avowedly conservative.
The second third is a very detailed and systematic analysis of conservative protestant hermeneutics. As a reference work the degree of distinction obtained is incredible. For example the section on `theologies verses theology' raised a concept I had known but never found a way to verbalize. However if viewed as a `how to' or motivational treatise it was painful in the extreme. This is probably a 'must read' for someone heavily in hermeneutics; however it is hard work.
The third section however was a look at typology, prophecy and parables. This section was simply excellent. Ramm's even handedness here shone brilliantly. He was able to point out flaws and inconsistencies in, for example, the literalists allowance of types that would almost certainly raise barriers if written by a different author. He essentially argues for a millennial and literal approach whilst simultaneously urging a greater appreciation of those passages that do require more spiritualized interpretation. His ability to clearly handle subtle issues requiring finesse make this one of the few texts I have read that have a chance of (slightly) changing someone's thinking on this subject.
One closing comment to make is that whilst this book was printed in 2004 that is the fifth printing of the third revision; the original is a nineteen fifties book. I generally have no problem with aged texts; however some of the sections on historical progression and trends definitely show their age.