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The Semantics of Biblical Language Paperback – 17 May 2004

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3.6 out of 5 stars 6 reviews from Amazon.com

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Paperback, 17 May 2004
£34.02 £24.99
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Amazon.com: 3.6 out of 5 stars 6 reviews
82 of 82 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a classic study on biblical interpretive procedures 3 Jun. 2000
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The need for this study arose due to the popularity of a movement known as "biblical theology" which relied heavily on certain interpretive procedures which constantly mishandled or distorted the linguistic evidence. Although the author is not interested in critisizing biblical theology itself, he is interested in critisizing certain methods used in the handling of linguistic evidence used in theological discussion. This book is a critique on those interpretive methods.
In biblical interpretation there exists not only the problem of translation, but also the problem of transculturation, which means we must consider the gaps between not only a Semitic language, an Indo-European language (Greek), and our own modern language, but also the gaps between the Ancient Near East, the Roman Empire, and our own modern culture. The author observes that it is doubtful that any other sphere of life other than the theological has so many people without special training who continually attempt a semantic transference across such gaps.
While the author assumes that the reader will have a basic understanding of Hebrew and Greek, he actually writes more to "the middle of the road" in order to reach as wide an audience as possible, and is neither overly technical nor too simplistic. As such, even those who have no training in the biblical languages will be able to benefit from reading it. For instance, the chapter on contrast of Hebrew and Greek thought, which is quite informative, uses no foreign terms.
This book, which was first published in 1961, has withstood the test of time, and the interpretive knowledge contained within its pages is just as pertinent today as when it was first written. This is a classic study and should be required reading for serious students of the Bible.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 28 Oct. 2015
By Dr. Thomas Ryba - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Item as expected.
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Difficult read but solid conclusions 27 Oct. 2009
By organguy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is definitely a book intended more for scholars than the layman. With that caveat in mind, it's well written and Barr hammers home the thesis that Greek and Hebrew are no different than any other language and we shouldn't attribute some deep mystical meaning to them. Their words have the same range of meaning as in English, for example. Fundamentally, meaning comes down to sentences or paragraphs---detailed etymological arguments or obscure grammatical questions simply shouldn't be used in determining proper interpretation except in extremely rare cases. In our everyday speech and writing now, we don't leave our meaning dependent on word etymology or complex grammar and neither does Greek or Hebrew. Barr promotes this thesis aggressively and with much detail to back it up. It can get a bit thick to read through all the details but it's a good book to have read to give one perspective on the subject. I can also recommend God, Language and Scripture by Moises Silva as a book that touches on many of the same themes (and others). It has some thick sections about linguistics but in general it's more readable for the layman.
0 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars 20 Oct. 2014
By Otte G Henri - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
0 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice Biblical Research Tool 19 Dec. 2011
By Mark S. Richards - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great tool for understanding why things are related as they are.nnnnnnnnnn nnnnnnnnn nnnnnnnnn nnnnnnnnnnnnn nnnnnnnnnnnnnnn nnnnnnnn nnnn nnnnn nnnnn nnnnn
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