Theological Hermeneutics

Theological Hermeneutics

by Alexander S. Jensen

ISBN-10: 0334029015

ISBN-13: 9780334029014

Pub. Date: 06/28/2007

Publisher: SCM Press Limited

This book introduces theological hermeneutics by giving a historical account of the development of hermeneutical thinking. It defines hermeneutics as the analysis of the obstacles to understanding. The history of hermeneutical thinking and responses to obstacles is told here, beginning with the allegorical interpretation of myths in Hellenism through to the…  See more details below


This book introduces theological hermeneutics by giving a historical account of the development of hermeneutical thinking. It defines hermeneutics as the analysis of the obstacles to understanding. The history of hermeneutical thinking and responses to obstacles is told here, beginning with the allegorical interpretation of myths in Hellenism through to the contemporary view of the hermeneutical problem as universal. Following the opening chapters on the history of hermeneutical thought, the book presents an overview of the various contemporary hermeneutical schools of thought, and shows their rooted-ness in different parts of the hermeneutical tradition. The focus is clearly on biblical interpretation however it does also take account of developments outside the field of theology, as they influence the theological reflection on the hermeneutical problem. The questions raised and the possible answers suggested in this volume will be of interest to students of other disciplines, such as philosophy and literature.

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Product Details

SCM Press Limited
Publication date:
Scm Core Text Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
3 Months

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements     xiii
Introduction     1
What is hermeneutics?     2
The hermeneutic circle     4
The place of hermeneutics     5
The approach of this book     6
Hermeneutics in Antiquity     9
Introduction     9
Language and meaning     10
Graeco-Roman antiquity     11
Allegorical interpretation     11
Historical grammatical interpretation     13
Judaism     13
A developing tradition     14
Translations (Targumim)     15
Typology     15
Midrash     16
Pesharim     18
Allegorical interpretation     19
Christianity     23
New Testament     23
The Apologists     25
Origen     27
The Antiochene School     30
Conclusion     31
Augustine of Hippo     38
Introduction and biography     38
Sources     39
Words and signs     40
Memory     41
Using signs     42
The inner word in the spoken word     45
Conclusion     48
The Middle Ages     51
Jerome's translation     51
Medieval interpretation     52
Ways of speaking of God     54
Equivocity     54
Analogy     58
Univocity     60
Conclusion     61
Humanism and the Reformation     64
Humanism     64
Ad fontes!     64
Two literal senses of Scripture     65
Erasmus     66
Reformation     67
Sola scriptura     67
The key to the Scriptures     70
Conclusion     74
Rationalism and Enlightenment     78
A new context     78
Enlightenment     79
Orthodoxy     81
Scottish common-sense philosophy and modern fundamentalism     82
Common sense     82
Common sense, Bacon and fundamentalism     84
Pietism     86
Conclusion     87
FriedrichSchleiermacher: Hermeneutics as the Art of Understanding     90
Introduction and biography     90
Sources     91
Feeling and language     91
The art of understanding      93
Grammatical and psychological interpretation     94
Grammatical interpretation     94
Psychological interpretation     96
Grammatical and psychological     97
Historical criticism     97
The hermeneutic circle     98
Outlook: Perception, feeling and language     99
Conclusion     101
Historicism     105
The text as source for the study of history: Dilthey and the history of religion school     106
Wilhelm Dilthey: hermeneutics as the foundation of the human sciences     106
History of religion school     108
Hermeneutics of suspicion: Marx, Nietzsche and Freud     109
Karl Marx     109
Friedrich Nietzsche     110
Sigmund Freud     111
Existentialism I: Martin Heidegger and Rudolf Bultmann     115
Introduction     115
Bultmann and Heidegger: Sources     117
Existentialism     118
Heidegger     118
Understanding     118
State-of-mind     120
Discourse and language     121
Interpretation     122
Bultmann     124
Human existence     125
The word of God     127
Conclusion     128
Existentialism II: The Path to Language     135
Understanding through language     135
Heidegger in his later career     135
Gelaut der Stille (sound of silence) and Lauten des Wortes (sounding of the word)     136
Unterschied (dif-ference)     137
Ereignis (event/appropriation)     137
Hans-Georg Gadamer     139
The fusion of horizons     141
An uncritical hermeneutic?     143
Paul Ricoeur     144
Sources and literature     145
Critical method     145
The surplus of meaning     146
The conflict of interpretations     148
Action and text     148
Conclusion     150
Hermeneutical theology     151
The new hermeneutics     151
Ernst Fuchs and the New Quest for the historical Jesus     151
Gerhard Ebeling     152
The Universality of the Sign I: Open Sign Systems     161
Structuralism     162
Ferdinand de Saussure: the founder of structuralism     162
Claude Levi-Strauss: structuralist interpretation of myth     163
Jacques Lacan: structuralist psychoanalysis     165
Post-structuralism and deconstruction     166
Post-structuralism     166
Deconstruction     170
Postmodern theology     171
The Universality of the Sign II: Closed Sign Systems     179
Karl Barth     179
Hermeneutics and theology: speaking of God     179
Analogy of faith     181
Biblical hermeneutics     182
Canonical approaches and new biblical theology     183
Brevard Childs     183
Literary criticism     186
Background     186
Principles     187
Critical Theory, Feminism and Postcolonialism     192
Critical Theory     192
The Frankfurt School     192
Jurgen Habermas     193
The debate with Gadamer     194
Critical remarks     196
Feminism     198
Feminist interpretation     199
The construction of gender     200
The atomization of feminism     201
Postcolonialism     201
Towards a Hermeneutical Theology     207
Preliminary considerations     207
Overcoming naive realism      207
Theological foundations     208
A hermeneutical theology     212
A linguistically constituted experience     212
Critical interpretation of texts     214
Speaking within the theologian's context     216
The nature of theological language     217
Dogmatic language     218
Narrative, praise and promise     219
Conclusion     221
Conclusion     224
The inner word     224
The significance of hermeneutics     227
Index of Subjects     229
Index of Names     236

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