The Two Horizons: New Testament Hermeneutics and Philosophical Description with Special Reference to Heidegger, Bultmann, Gadamer, and Wittgenstein

The Two Horizons: New Testament Hermeneutics and Philosophical Description with Special Reference to Heidegger, Bultmann, Gadamer, and Wittgenstein

The Two Horizons: New Testament Hermeneutics and Philosophical Description with Special Reference to Heidegger, Bultmann, Gadamer, and Wittgenstein

The Two Horizons: New Testament Hermeneutics and Philosophical Description with Special Reference to Heidegger, Bultmann, Gadamer, and Wittgenstein

Synopsis

This lucidly written survey of hermeneutics includes a thorough examination of the extent of the contribution of philosophy to the interpretation of the Bible, as well as a detailed original treatment of the work of Heidegger, Bultmann, Gadamer, and Wittgenstein. Notes; full bibliography; indexes.

Excerpt

One of the central concerns in contemporary theology and biblical studies has been the interest in linguistics and hermeneutics. It is impossible to do genuine scientific biblical study today without raising questions of hermeneutics—the science of interpretation—and we cannot raise the question of interpretation without raising questions about the nature of knowledge, the use of language, and the scientific and ontological presuppositions operative in the mind of the exegete. This book not only gives an excellent survey of the field but examines with great thoroughness the contribution of philosophy to the debate, to ask how far philosophy can provide us with tools (a) to elucidate the hermeneutical task, (b) to unfold the meaning of parts of the New Testament, and (c) to lead us beyond semantics and traditional linguistics by enlarging the interpreter’s prior understanding and conceptual capacities.

The pioneer work of Schleiermacher in hermeneutics arising out of his study of literary texts, followed by the application of this by Dilthey to the human studies in general (history, sociology, art, and religion), and by Rudolf Bultmann to the New Testament, highlighted the fact that the problem of hermeneutics is twofold, relating to the interpreter as well as to the text. This raises three main issues: the problem of historical distance between ourselves and the biblical writers; questions about the role of theology in interpretation; and the relation of hermeneutics to language. In the light of these concerns, Dr. Thiselton in a masterly way examines the work of Bultmann, Gadamer, Heidegger, and Wittgenstein, comparing and contrasting the last two philosophers, each in the light of their earlier and later work.

The book shows thorough familiarity with the many authors examined and a first-hand acquaintance with the work of writers in linguistics, New Testament language and literature, and contemporary philosophy (Continental, British, and American). Dr. Thiselton has a remarkable gift of clear exposition and a dialectical ability which with his . . .

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