Slaves, Women & Homosexuals: Exploring the Hermeneutics of Cultural Analysis   -     By: William J. Webb
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Slaves, Women & Homosexuals: Exploring the Hermeneutics of Cultural Analysis

Inter-Varsity Press / 2001 / Paperback

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Product Description

In Slaves, Women & Homosexuals William J. Webb tackles some of the most complex and controversial issues that have challenged the Christian church (and still do). He leads the reader through the maze of interpretation that has historically surrounded the understanding of these three specific categories of people, and he evaluates various approaches to these and other biblical and ethical teachings.

Throughout, Webb attempts to "work out the hermeneutics involved in distinguishing that which is merely cultural in Scripture from that which is timeless" (Craig A. Evans). By the conclusion, Webb has introduced and developed a "redemptive hermeneutic" that can be applied to many issues that cause similar dilemmas. Darrel L. Bock writes in the foreword of Webb's work, "His goal is not only to discuss how these groups are to be seen in light of Scriptures but to make a case for a specific hermeneutical approach to reading these texts....This book not only advances a discussion of the topics, but it also takes a markedly new direction toward establishing common ground where possible, potentially breaking down certain walls of hostility within the evangelical community."

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 320
Vendor: Inter-Varsity Press
Publication Date: 2001
Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 (inches)
ISBN: 0830815619
ISBN-13: 9780830815616
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

In Slaves, Women & Homosexuals William J. Webb tackles some of the most complex and controversial issues that have challenged the Christian church--and still do. He leads you through the maze of interpretation that has historically surrounded understanding of slaves, women and homosexuals, and he evaluates various approaches to these and other biblical-ethical teachings. Throughout, Webb attempts to "work out the hermeneutics involved in distinguishing that which is merely cultural in Scripture from that which is timeless" (Craig A. Evans). By the conclusion, Webb has introduced and developed a "redemptive hermeneutic" that can be applied to many issues that cause similar dilemmas. Darrel L. Bock writes in the foreword to Webb's work, "His goal is not only to discuss how these groups are to be seen in light of Scriptures but to make a case for a specific hermeneutical approach to reading these texts. . . . This book not only advances a discussion of the topics, but it also takes a markedly new direction toward establishing common ground where possible, potentially breaking down certain walls of hostility within the evangelical community."

Author Bio

William Webb is an adjunct professor of New Testament/Biblical Studies at Tyndale Seminary in Toronto, Ontario. He has also written (Sheffield) and (InterVarsity Press). Darrell L. Bock (Ph.D., Aberdeen) is research professor of New Testament studies and professor of spiritual development and culture at Dallas Theological Seminary in Dallas, Texas. He has written the monograph and volumes on Luke in both the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament and the IVP New Testament Commentary Series. Bock is a past president of the Evangelical Theological Society. He serves as a corresponding editor for and he has published articles in and the

Editorial Reviews

"Teaching hermeneutics will never be quite the same after one reads this thought-provoking book. The ethical issues it explores raise even deeper questions of how to apply 'cultural background' in interpreting the Bible. Even those who differ on some details will find most of the book's arguments persuasive and helpful, and no one can afford to ignore the issues it raises."
"Webb has tackled some of the most difficult and controversial issues that have faced the Christian church. Some of these issues, such as the role of women in the church and the question of homosexuality, are especially hot topics today. What makes Webb's book special is that it attempts to work out the hermeneutics involved in distinguishing that which is merely cultural in Scripture from that which is timeless. In my estimation, Webb's insights constitute major, positive progress. This book is must reading."
"This book successfully walks the reader through the hermeneutical maze that accompanies the treatment of each of these areas. The goal is not only to discuss how these groups are to be seen in light of Scripture but to make a case for a specific hermeneutical approach to reading these texts. Slaves, Women & Homosexuals not only advances a discussion of the topics beyond current literature, it takes a markedly new direction toward establishing common ground where possible, potentially breaking down certain walls of hostility within the evangelical community."
"The book is well focused, thoroughly researched, carefully argued, meticulously fair to differing views and profoundly biblical. I find it very persuasive."

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  1. transform 777
    Toronto, ON
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    May 16, 2013
    transform 777
    Toronto, ON
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    An important work in the field of hermeneutics. Well articulated ideas about how to carry forward the redemptive essense of scripture and apply it to the challenges of our modern world!
  2. Mike
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    August 1, 2007
    Mike
    Webb's "Slaves, Women and Homosexuals" is one of the most poignant writings on the church's treatment of these aforementioned social groups, as it pertains to western culture today. Webb introduces the idea of the redemptive-hermeneutic, which asks us when studying the Bible, to not only understand what the text states at face value, but to apply the spirit of this text into a greater application. In an example, to employ the cultural use slavery, with regard to what Scripture states at face value, slavery is an acceptable practice. However, slavery has now been abolished and to a certain extent at the hand of the Christian church. A static reading of Scripture today (or a reading of it at face value) would support the modern use of slavery, so why abolish it? But by the using the redemptive-hermeneutic we see the true spirit of redemption within the Biblical text. From the Old Testament into the New we see the cultural use of slaves, but by the laws God has set upon the Israelites there was always a higher standard. The surrounding cultures could beat and kill a slave for no reason if they wanted to. Not so with God's people as God has always had a higher standard for His followers. Moving into the New Testament we still see the use of slaves, but here there is a hint that slavery is being used with less barbarism. Now if slavery has ultimately been eliminated, why not prohibit the church from treating women as less than equals. Why shouldn't women be permitted to teach? A static reading of the Pauline texts might prohibit this, but would it when we take into account the certain cultural phenomena Paul was speaking toward, and would it when we understand the ultimate ethic of redemption? What we move toward in use of the redemptive-hermeneutic is an ultimate ethic of treatment. Eliminate slavery. Restore women to their rightful place as equals. Practice heterosexual monogamy. These are God's higher standards. A very thoughtful book altogether!
  3. Allen R. Mickle, Jr.
    2 Stars Out Of 5
    April 11, 2003
    Allen R. Mickle, Jr.
    Webb, Professor of New Testament at Heritage Theological Seminary in Cambridge, Ontario, Canada, had published a work, long in the making. It will make waves in the evangelical community as it has been endorsed by good scholars like Darrell Bock, Craig Evans and Craig Keener.Webb's book begins by setting out his rationale. He hopes to bring the evangelical community back together by his "redemptive-movement" hermeneutics. His basic premise is that the more "static" approach of Grudem, Piper and others is lacking in its cultural application. Unfortunately, Webb misses the mark by departing from a grammtical-historical hermeneutic.Webb divides the book into three sections. Slavery, which is his control group, homosexuals, and women. He eventually comes to the conclusion that slavery was a cultural convention of the ANE. Homosexuality, on the other hand is transcultural. The commands against it, go for all time. And finally, women in leadership, he feels was a cultural convention as well. That the arguments against women leadership in the Bible, was a cultural issue.Unfortunately Webb's book does not answer the age old question, that if somethings are cultural, then what isn't cultural? He critizes the patriarchalists because they see slavery as cultural but not the women issue. Webb's basic premise that because life was better in Israel than in the ANE, and that life was better in the Church than it was in ancient Israel, and that life is better now than it was then, shouldn't we now move forward and bring women into the picture as leaders? His point is, why would we perpetuate the curse?Unfortunately, Webb doesn't follow a generally held view of hermeneutics, and this will cause some to shy away from his book right away. A well-trained pastor or teacher could read this book with some profit, but I would not recommend it to anyone else than that.
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