Evangelical Hermeneutics: The New versus the Old

By Davids, Peter H. | Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, September 2004 | Go to article overview

Evangelical Hermeneutics: The New versus the Old


Davids, Peter H., Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society


Evangelical Hermeneutics: The New Versus the Old. By Robert L. Thomas. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 2002, 524 pp., $23.99 paper.

Robert L. Thomas describes his own work fairly: "The remarks in this present volume come from an exegetical practitioner, one who is not a hermeneutical theoretician and who has no aspirations of becoming one" (p. 19). Despite this confession, he sets out to critique what he takes to be modern and post-modern hermeneutical models, specifically the idea of preunderstanding, which he believes lies behind most of the problems in biblical interpretation and indeed in evangelicalism today.

The critique begins in chapter 2. Thomas argues that instead of accepting any concept of preunderstanding (which, he claims, confuses him), God communicates objectively in Scripture, and thus, "neutral objectivity" is possible because of the Holy Spirit. (This theme is also discussed by Brian A. Shealy in chapter 7 as the confusion of application with interpretation.) The contrast of objectivity with non-objectivity is shown in chapter 3 in an examination of eschatology, especially 2 Thess 2, where several reformed scholars, a number of translations, and many older mainline scholars are critiqued in favor of a dispensational approach. (Unfortunately, none of the scholars he cites is noted for his use of new hermeneutical insights.) This debate is a case of reformed/liberal verses dispensational, all cast as a discussion of exegesis rather than hermeneutics.

Chapter 4 claims dynamic equivalent translations are an example of the new hermeneutic; thus, only formal equivalent translations are appropriate. One reason for this is the uniqueness of biblical language, which is Thomas's point in chapter 8, where he definitively rejects "modern linguistics." The rejection of linguistics is related to chapter 5's rejection of general revelation in the sense of the integration of biblical insights with other truth and in particular with their integration with psychology.

For Thomas, all truth is not God's truth. If Scripture can be studied objectively and the integration of other disciplines is counterproductive, then one reaches the conclusions of chapter 6 that there is only one meaning in a text, and thus, most contemporary works on evangelical biblical interpretation or hermeneutics are mistaken. This is also the case when it comes to the use of the OT in the New (chapter 9). Walter Kaiser is wrong, for there is indeed a sensus plenior, but it is an "inspired sensus plenior" occasioned by Israel's rejection of their King. It is certainly not a method that is reproducible today. No mention is made of its similarity to contemporary Jewish exegetical methodologies.

Given Thomas's analysis of the special nature of biblical language, it is not surprising that chapters 10 and 11 reject genre analysis (a lot of issues in biblical criticism are gathered under that heading) in the interpretation of both the gospels and Revelation. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Evangelical Hermeneutics: The New versus the Old
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.