To What End Exegesis? Essays Textual, Exegetical, and Theological

To What End Exegesis? Essays Textual, Exegetical, and Theological

To What End Exegesis? Essays Textual, Exegetical, and Theological

To What End Exegesis? Essays Textual, Exegetical, and Theological


Over the past twenty-five years Gordon D. Fee has produced a steady stream of articles and academic papers addressing thorny text-critical issues, delicate exegetical concerns, and profound theological matters. Many of these scholarly pieces have made significant contributions to the field of New Testament studies, but they have been scattered in a wide range of publications. Now, in this book, twenty-one of Fees finest shorter works are conveniently available together in a single volume. In many ways this collection reflects Fees own journey as a biblical scholar. The volume begins with Fees early work in textual criticism, turns to studies more strictly exegetical in nature, and concludes with studies more theological in intent. In the course of these studies Fee explores a wide range of concerns for readers and interpreters of the New Testament, including Paul as an early trinitarian thinker, freedom and obedience according to Paul, New Testament christology and pneumatology, and much more. These fine studies amply demonstrate Fees mastery of the exegetical task and illustrate the goal of exegesis in the service of the believing Christian community. Certain to be consulted and read frequently, To What End Exegesis? will provide teachers, pastors, and serious students of the Bible with a robust banquet of New Testament scholarship.


I welcome this opportunity to gather this collection of academic papers that have appeared in a variety of publications over a twenty-five-year period and make them available in this single volume. Hopefully this will offer convenient access to some studies that are otherwise more difficult to find, since in many cases they first appeared in Festschriften in honor of scholar friends or in the SBL Seminar Papers for a given year, which in both cases by their very nature had a very limited publication. On the other hand, those who come to this volume from two earlier collections of papers (Listening to the Spirit in the Text [Eerdmans, 2000] and Gospel and Spirit: Issues in New Testament Hermeneutics [Hendrickson, 1991]) may be mildly disappointed that there is less “application” and more pure hermeneutics.

In many ways this collection reflects my varied interests as a New Testament scholar, including textual criticism. But in the end all of them, even the textual studies, focus on my primary, lifelong concern for understanding the biblical text and for coming to terms with the theology inherent in these texts. And all of this for the sake of the believing Christian community. The studies themselves appear in mostly canonical order, except for the final section of theological studies, which combines a canonical order with a more chronological one. The interested reader may wish to begin with chapter 17, from which the title has been drawn, since it is a published lecture which begins with a kind of autobiographical note that may help to make sense of the rest.

On the other hand, I have no illusions that many will actually read this book through, since that is seldom the case with these kinds of collected studies. But since I did read it through (as a proofreader), I wish to make a few further observations about the collection as a whole.

First, even though the first of these studies goes back to 1976 (ch. 10), I

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