Academic journal article Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

From Hermeneutics to Exegesis: The Trajectory of Biblical Interpretation

Academic journal article Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

From Hermeneutics to Exegesis: The Trajectory of Biblical Interpretation

Article excerpt

From Hermeneutics to Exegesis: The Trajectory of Biblical Interpretation. By Matthew R. Malcolm. Nashville: B&H Academic, 2018, 192 pp., $24.99 paper.

Whenever I pick up a new book, my first thoughts are related to the necessity of the work. I ponder whether the book actually contributes substance to the overall academic discourse or whether it is simply retreading the same timeworn themes with a new cover from a different publisher. And I must admit that a tinge of skepticism has colored my perspective recently as I, like Qoheleth, have grown weary with the exponential publication of books (Eccl 12:12).

Matthew Malcolm's From Hermeneutics to Exegesis is a refreshing exception. It is an important work for at least three reasons: (1) it offers clarification to the oftenmuddied distinction between hermeneutics and exegesis; (2) it expounds a robust, and I believe evangelical, view of hermeneutics that pivots slightly from the recent stream of evangelical books on hermeneutics; and (3) it functions as a digest of Anthony Thiselton's influential yet dense and, at times, opaquely philosophical treatises on hermeneutics. I have a greater respect for Thiselton's concepts after having read Malcolm.

Malcolm's stated goal for the book is "to help readers become more attentive, and more self-aware, interpreters" (p. xvi). He begins by highlighting the differences between hermeneutics and exegesis. Hermeneutics, which is more abstract, "means the study of what is happening when effective interpretation or understanding takes place" (p. 5). Exegesis, on the other hand, is the "intentional, attentive, respectful interpretation of a particular written text" (p. 6). He likens exegesis to an interview process that involves "bothpriming (that is, pre-interview homework) and refining (that is, continually cultivating one's general sense of the text by asking particular questions of it)" (p. …

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