Finished recently Scripture as Communication: Introducing Biblical Hermeneutics. This was a book written by one of my professors at Bethel Seminary during my long stretch going there part-time between 2004 and 2011. Jeannine Brown was my Introduction to Hermeneutics as well as one of my Greek profs. I found her to be a great teacher and an awesome woman.
The book is really good. I had waiting much of the last year to read it because I wanted to read it while at the same time as I was serving as a TA/Coach in the Intro to Hermeneutics course that I’ve been working in the last couple of weeks.
It’s different a bit from most Bible Study Method or Intro to Hermeneutic books in that half of it is dedicated to the theory of Hermeneutics – what shapes meaning and how does one ascertain meaning in written communication shaped many generations ago. There’s not much out there that seeks to provide an intro to Hermeneutic Theory while there’s plenty that seeks to provide practical help for understanding the Bible. This book tackles that two as the second half is dedicated to the more practical elements of studying Scripture.
But aside from the strong theory content, there are several chapters dedicated to contextualization and really the practical side of contextualization as well as the ethics of contextualization – which involves discovering original meaning of a text in a different context and discovering and applying that meaning in a different context and era and situation. I really thought some of this content was fantastic.
Not everyone is into studying the theoretical side, but I find it incredibly valuable and engaging – and dare I say it, exciting! The exciting thing about sound and thick theories is that they bring such great possibilities in understanding and application. And they help provide good correctives against poor assumptions and approaches.
If you have time and want to explore the issues related to discovering original meaning in the Bible as well as in how to make appropriate parallels and application in contemporary settings, this would be a great book for that purpose.