Interpreting Apocalyptic Literature: An Exegetical Handbook
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Interpreting Apocalyptic Literature: An Exegetical Handbook

Kregel Publications / 2016 / Paperback

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At one time, Old Testament apocalyptic literature was relegated to the more obscure reaches of biblical scholarship, acceptable to occasionally refer to, but too thorny to delve into deeply. However, in recent decades it has moved to the forefront of research. The rich veins of insight to be mined in the book of Daniel and other apocalyptic texts are being rediscovered. Richard A. Taylor has crafted a handbook to explore those riches and uncover a way to understand apocalyptic literature more fully.

Taylor begins with a helpful introduction to the genre; surveys the purpose, message, and primary themes of Old Testament apocalyptic literature; and then discusses critical questions and key works for further study. He also provides guidelines for interpreting apocalyptic texts, followed by Old Testament passages that serve to illustrate those guidelines.

While primarily written for pastors and graduate students, Interpreting Apocalyptic Literature is nonetheless accessible to those who simply want to study the texts more deeply than previously possible.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 208
Vendor: Kregel Publications
Publication Date: 2016
Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 (inches)
ISBN: 0825427614
ISBN-13: 9780825427619
Series: Handbooks for Old Testament Exegesis

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  1. PASTOR JIM GRAY
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Helpful Survey
    February 6, 2017
    PASTOR JIM GRAY
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This is a continuation of Handbook for Old Testament Exegesis; thus, it centers on the apocalyptic of the Old Testament. As such it focusses upon Daniel and Joel. I am disappointed that he says little about other apocalyptic sections of the Old Testament (Ezekiel, Zachariah). The book is divided into the following sections:

    What is Apocalyptic Literature? This is the best chapter of the whole book. It deals with definition and with both its distinctiveness and its problems with defining the word. The word has been a problem to accurately define, but he does a good job (page 33). He holds that apocalypse is a literary genre; is rich in angelology; and has to do with the eschaton.

    Major themes in Apocalyptic Literature. Since it is both is represented in the Old Testament, intertestamental Jewish literature, and the Dead Sea Scrolls. He spends time with all three. The O.T. is seen to have sowed the seeds of the genre, especially Daniel, but found in other prophets as well. It is extended to new heights in the intertestamental Jewish literature. This is somewhat helpful in understand the character of this genre, but with mixed results. He characterizes the genre in broad terms, too broad at times. I agree that the fundamental feature of Apocalyptic nature is written expression and revelatory in content. The chapter in my opinion sees little difference between Biblical Apocalyptic literature and secular. This to me is a major flaw in the work. I see three conflicts between the twopseudonymous authorship (not true of most of the Biblical apocalyptic literature); pessimism, optimism; and the presence of ethnical demands. These conflicts are overlooked.

    Guide for Interpretation (chapters 3-4). These are two helpful chapters no matter how you view the genre. In chapter 3 it centers upon preparing for interpretation. It mostly defines figures of speech which the genre is heavily burdened with. He gives a wide variety of tools to use. It relies mostly on the original Hebrew text and recourses of Hebrew language. Chapter 4 gives guidelines for interpretation. He gives six clear and general guidelines. There are two I consider the most valuable: The grammatical-historical approach, and the limits of figurative language. He clearly points out a warning against reckless speculations that come by over attention to detail.

    Proclaiming Apocalyptic Literature. In other words, this chapter is on preaching from this type of literature. He strongly advocates its preaching. He gives good sound features of doing so, using a good example from Daniel 7.

    The last chapter is on sample texts.

    An appendix of the history of this type of literature.

    This volume is worth having and gives a sound survey of the subject, in spite of what I see as weaknesses. It will be helpful, but to do a more detailed study, one will need to supplement it with more advance works. However, this will help in understanding the basics of the subject and its history.



    I received this book free from the publisher to review. It did not have to be a positive review.The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255.
  2. Jimmy Reagan
    Leesville, SC
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: male
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    Guidance for Exegesis
    January 26, 2017
    Jimmy Reagan
    Leesville, SC
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This book is the latest release of Kregels helpful Handbook for Old Testament Exegesis series, edited by David Howard. It tackles what is, perhaps, the most difficult genre in the BibleApocalyptic Literature. Though the volumes in this series are designed for graduate-level courses, this volume by Richard A. Taylor is accessible and reads well.

    Chapter 1 sets the stage by carefully answering the question, what is apocalyptic literature. That chapter begins by explaining the importance of genre in exegeting the Old Testament. He also relates well that which most surprises the student as he reads scholars have trouble even agreeing on what the definition of apocalyptic literature is. Taylor does give us a definition on page 33, but its paragraph length shows the difficulty of definition here. He also defines the kind of apocalyptic literature types that we may encounter in the Old Testament. Perhaps, like me, you dont see a lot of ex eventu prophecy in the Old Testament as he does.

    The next chapter is quite helpful as it surveys the places in the Old Testament that you encounter apocalyptic literature. He also discusses a great deal other extrabiblical Jewish apocalyptic texts. I personally find those texts to be of much less value in understanding true Old Testament apocalyptic texts than modern scholars, but every such book is bound to discuss those spurious texts.

    Theres much help for the preacher in carefully defining types of figurative language you might encounter. Clearly, that type of language cannot be explained in the same manner as we do with narrative texts. From there, he goes on to explain the process of interpreting apocalyptic literature.

    Along the way, you will find words well-defined, lists of other books you might need for exegesis, and examples of his method on specific Old Testament texts. In addition, theres a very helpful glossary at the end of the book. The appendix on antecedents of apocalyptic literature would be far less help to most preachers.

    Because he covers his subject in about 200 pages, this is probably the perfect book to have on the subject. Some folks might be satisfied with the apocalyptic literature chapter in a regular hermeneutic volume, but if you want more, this is the book for you.

    I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255.
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