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Biblical Interpretation and Philosophical Hermeneutics

$21.99 (P)

  • Date Published: July 2012
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107683402

$ 21.99 (P)

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About the Authors
  • This book applies philosophical hermeneutics to biblical studies. Whereas traditional studies of the Bible limit their analysis to the exploration of the texts' original historical sense, this book discusses how to move beyond these issues to a consideration of biblical texts' existential significance for the present. In response to the rejection of biblical significance in the late nineteenth century and the accompanying crisis of nihilism, B. H. McLean argues that the philosophical thought of Heidegger, Bultmann, Gadamer, Habermas, Ricoeur, Levinas, Deleuze, and Guattari provides an alternative to historically oriented approaches to biblical interpretation. He uses basic principles drawn from these philosophers' writings to create a framework for a new “post-historical” mode of hermeneutic inquiry that transcends the subject-based epistemological structure of historical positivism.

    • Addresses the crisis of nihilism in contemporary biblical studies
    • Explains in accessible language philosophical writings of Heidegger, Bultmann, Gadamer, Habermas, Ricoeur, Levinas, Deleuze and Guattari
    • Provides basic principles for an alternative post-historical mode of hermeneutics
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    Reviews & endorsements

    Advance Praise: “Prof. McLean has written a well conceived, creative, and insightful book exploring problems in philosophical hermeneutics as they bear on biblical interpretation. Readers will find an excellent survey of key themes and major thinkers in continental philosophy over the past century as well as a compelling argument for a ‘post-historical’ approach to understanding the Bible that moves outside the orbit of the sovereign subject and the lure of historical objectivism. I heartily recommend the book as essential reading for those in religious studies, theology, and biblical studies alike.” – Thomas Reynolds, Emmanuel College in Victoria University of the University of Toronto, author of The Broken Whole: Philosophical Steps toward a Theology of Global Solidarity

    “Do not be lulled by the title of this book into imagining a set of sedate waltzes with an altogether predictable set of dance partners. The ‘embodied’ biblical hermeneutic to which the book builds up, a productively disorienting whirl with Deleuze and Guattari, is unlike any previously articulated.” – Stephen D. Moore, The Theological School, Drew University, author of The Bible in Theory: Critical and Postcritical Essays and co-author of The Invention of the Biblical Scholar

    “Mining the hermeneutic riches of Continental philosophy (Heidegger, Gadamer, Habermas, Foucault, Ricoeur, Levinas, Deleuze and Guattari, and so on), Biblical Interpretation and Philosophical Hermeneutics is an inspired plea to move beyond the Enlightenment myth of objective biblical interpretation and focus forthrightly on the biblical text’s existential, ethical significance for building a community in quest of justice. Rather than seeing biblical interpretation as fundamentally the search for explanation and final objectivity (in regard to a text’s sociohistorical referents, its author’s intentions, and its language), biblical exegesis is turned into a spiritual exercise: an open-ended prayerful, nomadic, Abraham-like quest for wisdom and personal transformation, in ethical solidarity with and accountability to others. This is an inspiring book for those who, loving the questions about the biblical text, desire to ‘live’ them more deeply!” – James H. Olthuis, Emeritus Professor of Philosophical Theology, Institute for Christian Studies

    "His knowledge of the history of biblical interpretation and philosophical hermeneutics and their relationship, unfolds masterfully in this volume."
    --V. M. Ehret, Choice

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2012
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107683402
    • length: 327 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 153 x 17 mm
    • weight: 0.53kg
    • contains: 17 b/w illus.
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. The Crisis of Historical Meaning:
    1. The meaning of meaning: reference, sense, meaning, and significance
    2. The death of the author
    3. The crisis of historical meaning
    4. The twilight of idols
    Part II. On the Way to Post-historical Hermeneutics:
    5. The interpreter as the location of meaning: Martin Heidegger
    6. Faith and history: Bultmann's debate with Bart
    7. The linguistic turn: language as a symbolizing system
    Part III. Post-historical Hermeneutics:
    8. Interpretation as dialogue: Hans-Georg Gadamer
    9. Interpretation and critique: Jürgen Habermas
    10. The hermeneutics of recollection and suspicion: Paul Ricoeur
    11. Interpretation before the face of the other: Emmanuel Levinas
    12. The embodied interpreter: Deleuze and Guattari
    Conclusion: post-historical interpretation.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Hermeneutics
    • Interpreting the New Testament
  • Author

    B. H. McLean, Knox College, University of Toronto
    B. H. McLean is Professor of New Testament Language and Literature at Knox College, University of Toronto. He is the author of New Testament Greek: An Introduction (Cambridge University Press, 2011), An Introduction to the Study of Greek Epigraphy of the Hellenistic and Roman Periods from Alexander the Great Down to the Reign of Constantine (323 BCE–337 CE) (2002) and Greek and Latin Inscriptions in the Konya Archaeological Museum (2002).

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