Modern biblical interpreters, whether they are a scholar, student, or pastor, encounter myriad philosophies and methods for interpreting Scripture. Postmodern trends have emphasized one's community identity in shaping interpretation while modern interpretation is too often characterized by rigid historical-grammatical lines and a strict line between the disciplines of exegesis and theology.
The Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of the Bible is a groundbreaking reference tool that seeks first of all to marry the tasks of exegesis and theology with the goal of generating theological interpretation of Scripture; interpretation that has recovered a focus on the subject matter of Scripture: the nature and activity of God and the gospel. Second, it aims to provide a guide to understanding various interpretative approaches and a tool for evaluating them in light of this goal.
The dictionary covers a wide range of topics related to biblical interpretation with both depth and clarity. Topics include the theological interpretation of individual books of the Bible, issues of hermeneutics, various biblical interpreters and interpretative communities, and the interplay of interpretation with various doctrines and doctrinal themes. The contributors represent a diverse range of theological backgrounds and interpretative approaches and are experts in their respective fields.
For the pastor or serious layperson, the realm of biblical interpretation can be a confusing maze of personalities, communities, methods, and theories. This maze can often result in obscuring the main goal of interpreting Scripture: hearing and knowing God better.
The Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of the Bible is a groundbreaking reference tool that introduces readers to key names, theories, and concepts in the field of biblical interpretation. It discusses these approaches and evaluates their helpfulness in enabling Christians to hear what God is saying to the church through Scripture. The contributors come from a variety of backgrounds, and the dictionary covers a broad range of topics with both clarity and depth.
Kevin J. Vanhoozer (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is research professor of systematic theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He is the author of several books, including Is There a Meaning in This Text?
Craig G. Bartholomew (Ph.D., University of Bristol) holds the H. Evan Runner Chair in Philosophy at Redeemer University College in Ontario. He is the coauthor of The Drama of Scripture.
Daniel J. Treier (Ph.D., Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is Blanchard Professor of Theology at Wheaton College.
N. T. Wright (D.Phil., University of Oxford) is bishop of Durham and author of over forty books, including Jesus and the Victory of God, The Resurrection of the Son of God, and a popular series of guides to the New Testament.
This dictionary will be an exceedingly useful addition to the library of every Christian, professional and lay, who wants to learn skills for reading the Bible more insightfully. Scholarly yet accessible, historically grounded yet forming us for the future, broadly global in perspective yet enabling readers to see the theological implications of biblical books and study methods for their own lives and their communities, the articles gathered here equip us all to know the triune God more thoroughly and to offer Christian alternatives to our world more gracefully and purposefully. This is an outstanding resource presented by many of my favorite teachers.
-Marva J. Dawn,
teaching fellow in spiritual theology, Regent College
This dictionary is a must for all who read the Bible theologically. The editors and contributors consider theological interpretation as an inherently dynamic enterprise that reaps the fruits of other hermeneutical models.
-William P. Brown,
professor of Old Testament, Columbia Theological Seminary
The Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of the Bible is a timely and important reference work. Its panoply of contributors from across the English-speaking world will help reestablish theological criticism as a critical approach to scriptural interpretation. It is a significant and well-executed project.
-Ellen T. Charry,
Margaret W. Harmon Associate Professor of Systematic Theology, Princeton Theological Seminary
Not just another Bible dictionary, this rich collection of essays takes up significant biblical topics and books, in every case probing the theological significance of the material. It also addresses leading figures in the theological interpretation of Scripture (e.g., Luther and Barth) as well as major matters of hermeneutics, such as meaning, method, cultural interpretation, and speech-act theory. The substance of the dictionary is such that the reader will learn about the issues that each topic has raised, but that occurs as each article develops a theological appropriation of the subject matter. Original thinking is joined with a concern to make the reader aware of all that is necessary to think about the topic at hand. I expect it to be among the most useful reference works available for those who seek always to hold together the biblical and the theological.
Charles T. Haley Professor of Old Testament Theology, Princeton Theological Seminary
In this remarkable dictionary, the Bible is reclaimed as a book of and for the church. I predict that when the history of theology of our time is written what Vanhoozer, Bartholomew, Treier, and Wright have done will be seen as a watershed. In this book theology returns to its source, that is, Scripture.
Gilbert T. Rowe Professor of Theological Ethics, Duke Divinity School
Students suffer from being trapped between the unremitting advocates of historical-critical methodologies on the one side and those who favor the endlessly deconstructing postmodern methodologies on the other side. It has become clear to many that the only way forward to the healthy use of Scripture will depend in great measure on the retrieval of robust theological interpretation. This dictionary is a wonderful resource for helping students, pastors, theologians, and even biblical scholars take that first important step.
-Willie James Jennings,
academic dean, Duke Divinity School
This dictionary is a pioneering compendium with an intriguing range of stimulating articles on a subject area that modernity tended to marginalize from biblical studies, but on which the last word can never be written--for our discourse is ever-changing and God's Word is boundless.
Cadbury Professor of Theology, University of Birmingham
The Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of the Bible provides a unique treasury of resources. The articles cover a comprehensive array of themes, interpreters, methods, theological movements, historical epochs, and technical terms. The impressive roster of contributors reflects a far-reaching variety of theoretical approaches, and their articles on the books of the Bible draw on the wisdom of all the centuries of the church's reflection on Scripture. All students of biblical theology and the theological interpretation of the Bible will find in these pages much to enrich their understanding and provoke their imagination.
-A. K. M. Adam,
professor of New Testament, Seabury-Western Theological Seminary
The Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of the Bible is a fine collection of essays by top scholars on four continents. Depth of knowledge, clarity of exposition, a wide range of classical and contemporary topics, excellent bibliographies--all these make it highly useful, if not indispensable, for those who study and teach Scripture within the context of the church's life.
-Ellen F. Davis,
professor of Bible and practical theology, Duke Divinity School
The theological interpretation of Scripture is at the heart of lively, relevant Christian thinking and is its single most important element. This new dictionary is not only well conceived and well written; it also rigorously and thoughtfully faces one major issue after another and offers a wealth of sound summaries, perceptive comments, and constructive suggestions. It will be of great value in both church and academy.
Regius Professor of Divinity, University of Cambridge
At last, a single volume that treats critical theory, hermeneutical terms, theological topics, and the theology of each biblical book! Its menu is ideal: distinguished editors and contributors, careful design, and comprehensive content. It offers a well-researched, reliable, and readable guide to the Bible and to its theological interpretation. Every serious Bible reader will profit from its pages.
-Robert L. Hubbard Jr.,
Professor of biblical literature, North Park Theological Seminary
With an impressive international cast of contributors, this is a pioneering attempt to provide a comprehensive resource for the renewed development of a Christian theological interpretation of Scripture, which has been gathering pace for a number of years. Whether studied sequentially or used as a reference tool, the Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of the Bible should prove a welcome topical and methodological guide to ways of reading the Bible that connect with the faith of the historic church in which, and through which, it has been heard and heeded to this day. The biblical texts in their rich diversity are, as Vanhoozer's introduction reminds us, concerned primarily with the reality of God. Readers willing to do justice to their subject matter will find here assistance in the task of reading those texts as they cry out to be read.
-Markus Bockmuehl, professor of biblical and early Christian studies, University of St. Andrews
Both the academy and the church have awakened to the need to bring exegesis and theology back into relationship with one another. This dictionary, partly because it covers such a wide range of topics, provides a useful resource for those engaged in learning how to read the Bible, with all its historical particularity, as a word from God to his people of this generation.
Blanchard Professor of New Testament, Wheaton College