In this volume, renowned philosopher Merold Westphal introduces current philosophical thinking related to interpreting the Bible. Recognizing that no theology is completely free of philosophical “contamination,” he engages and mines contemporary hermeneutical theory in service of the church. After providing an historical overview of contemporary theories of interpretation, Westphal addresses postmodern hermeneutical theory, arguing that the relativity embraced there is not the same as the relativism in which “anything goes.” Rather, Westphal encourages us to embrace the proliferation of interpretations based on different perspectives as a way to get at the richness of the biblical text.
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Masterfully appropriating the insights of postmodern hermeneuticists, Westphal brings greater honesty to the interpretive practice of Christianity. . . . This book . . . should be disseminated at the threshold of every church and seminary.
—Christopher Benson, Christian Scholar’s Review
Westphal deftly navigates between hermeneutical despair and hermeneutical arrogance to arrive at a hermeneutic that affirms the vital importance of interpretation and yet insists that Scripture itself truly speaks. The result is not only a judicious and correct theory of interpretation but also a striking demonstration of what such a humble and respectful hermeneutic looks like in practice.
—Bruce Ellis Benson, professor and chair of the philosophy department, Wheaton College
Merold Westphal (PhD, Yale University) is a distinguished professor of philosophy at Fordham University in Bronx, New York, where he has taught for more than 20 years. His many publications include Postmodern Philosophy and Christian Thought and Overcoming Onto-Theology.