New Horizons in Hermeneutics: The Theory and Practice of Transforming Biblical Reading Paperback – 31 Jan 1997
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From the Back Cover
Dr. Anthony Thiselton's thorough approach to the growing discipline of hermeneutics takes account of a comprehensive range of theoretical models of reading and interpretation. He evaluates both the foundations on which they rest and their practical implications for Old and New Testament reading. Building on his earlier influential work, The Two Horizons, Dr. Thiselton examines theories of texts, semiotics and literature, the legacy of Patristic and Reformation hermeneutics, and the use of socio-critical theory, liberation theology, and Marxist, feminist, and black hermeneutics, and discusses every major hermeneutical theorist. This exhaustive and rigorous critique will prove valuable to anyone undertaking advanced research in hermeneutics, including teachers and students of theology and language or literary theory.
About the Author
Dr. Anthony C. Thiselton is professor of Christian theology at the University of Nottingham and Canon Theologian of Leicester Cathedral. His substantial volume on hermeneutics, The Two Horizons, received international acclaim as a standard resource for this growing subject area.
Top customer reviews
The pastoral dimension of the work in the final two chapters is an interesting dimension to a work in a field that often seems abstracted from such considerations. Given the inclusion of the 'life-world' within almost all discussions in post-Heideggerian hermeneutics, this adds credibility to what are often only academic arguments. In general, the use of Biblical examples throughout the work is also judicious and helpful to furthering Thiselton's argument. An indispensible work to all students of textual hermeneutics.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
This is the second time I have made my way through New Horizons in Hermeneutics: The Theory and Practice of Transforming Biblical Reading. I first read this volume, along with Two Horizons and Thiselton on Hermeneutics two summer ago when I was working heavily on hermeneutics and interpretation theory. New Horizons in Hermeneutics is best described by Thiselton himself as "a description and critical evaluation of all the major theoretical models and approaches which characterize current hermeneutical theory, or which have contributed to its present shape." (pg. 1). The book is meant for both those involved in scholarly hermeneutical study and Biblical scholars. This second audience means special attention in New Horizons in Hermeneutics will be given to applying these hermeneutical approaches to the Bible.
The first chapter introduces the moorings involved in recent hermeneutical study and outlines the theme of each chapter to come. The first three chapters discuss the nature of textuality and the recent post-modern attempt at textual deconstruction. Before focusing on the the most recent interpretive trends Thiselton moves backward. In chapter 4 there is an excellent discussion on pre-modern interpretation focusing on the role of tradition and allegory. The fifth chapter then develops the interpretive assumptions of the Reformers, from Luther to the English. The history lesson comes to an end with a overview of Schleiermacher's system in chapter six and an application of Schleiermacher's, Dilthey's and Betti's approach to Pauline texts.
Chapters 8-14 are the heart of the book. Here Thiselton lives up to his standard and gives in depth analysis of the current interpretive and hermenutical theories. The discussion ranges from existentialism, to Speech-Act Theory, Paul Ricoeur, Socio-Critical theory, Liberation theology, Literary theory and Reader Response. This section is not simply a critique of these various theories and Thiselton commends that which is positive in each case. In the final two chapters, Thiselton combines his critiques and affirmations to formats an alternative to the standard approaches, which draws from and add to them. He calls it "The Hermeneutics of Pastoral Theology." The most enduring part of these chapters encourages Christian readers to remember that their sinfulness effects their interpretation and their interpretive systems do not escape their idolatrous tendencies. If we rely on our own abilities in Biblical interpretation we will have betrayed the Gospel story of the Cross and Resurrection we are seeking to better understand. A wise word.
With such a deeply philosophical nature, what role does this volume have in the tool box of Biblical scholars and Bible teachers? The first thing that must be noted is the difficulty of this text. While I do have an undergraduate in philosophy, I am not a professional trained philosopher and I found this book challenging to read at many points. I needed to go slow and rehearse what Thiselton was claiming about each position and then register his comments on it. I relatively well acquainted with most of the models Thiselton interacts with and I found most of his comments to be either on target or quite illuminating. With that said, I would encourage more pastors and Bible interpreters to spend more time considering their interpretive assumptions and methods. Here the chapters on Speech-Act Theory and Literary Theory have the most relevance for Biblical exegesis, both of which have had significant impact on Biblical interpretation in the last 20 years, in part thanks to Thiselton. In addition, while I found some Thiseltons discussion on Reader-Reader response and Liberation theory a bit too accepting, their is much to learn from his descriptions and interaction. Finally, Thiselton's discussion on the role of text and reader having a cyclical effect of change is quite useful for pastors and any Bible reader interested in better understanding the hermeneutical spiral.
For those without previous work in philosophy of language or 20th century continental thought I would suggest that you start with Hermeneutics: A Historical Overview or The Hermeneutics of Doctrine from Thiselton or Is There Meaning in This Text? by Kevin Vanhoozer. For those more comfortable in these areas, New Horizons in Hermeneutics moves Thiselton's work in Two Horizons forward by interacting on a very high level with the litany of options facing the interpreter today.
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