In this revised and expanded edition of the 1993 Christianity Today Critics' Choice Award winner in theology and biblical studies, Grant Osborne provides seminary students and working pastors with the full set of tools they need to move from sound exegesis to the development of biblical and systematic theologies and to the preparation of sound, biblical sermons.
Osborne contends that hermeneutics is a spiral from text to context--a movement between the horizon of the text and the horizon of the reader that spirals nearer and nearer toward the intended meaning of the text and its significance for today.
He develops his thesis in each of three sections: the first covering general hermeneutics (grammar, semantics, syntax, backgrounds), the second covering hermeneutics and genre, and the third covering applied hermeneutics. Along the way, he offers assessments of recent developments from redaction criticism to reader response criticism. In two appendixes he also addresses the contemporary philosophical challenges to fixed meanings in texts and discusses the implications of this debate for biblical authority.
Well-established as the standard evangelical work in the field since its first publication in 1991, this updated edition of The Hermeneutical Spiral meets the needs of a new generation of students and pastors. General revisions have been made throughout, new chapters have been added on Old Testament law and the use of the Old Testament in the New, and the bibliography has been thoroughly updated.
Check out Grant Osborne's Verse by Verse Commentaries.
“Second, hermeneutics is an art, for it is an acquired skill demanding both imagination and an ability to apply the ‘laws’ to selected passages or books.” (Pages 21–22)
“Third and most important, hermeneutics when utilized to interpret Scripture is a spiritual act, depending on the leading of the Holy Spirit. Modern scholars too often ignore the sacred dimension and approach the Bible purely as literature, considering the sacral aspect to be almost a genre.” (Page 22)
“A spiral is a better metaphor because it is not a closed circle but rather an open-ended movement from the horizon of the text to the horizon of the reader. I am not going round and round a closed circle that can never detect the true meaning but am spiraling nearer and nearer to the text’s intended meaning as I refine my hypotheses and allow the text to continue to challenge and correct those alternative interpretations, then to guide my delineation of its significance for my situation today.” (Page 22)
“Hermeneutics as a discipline demands a complex interpretive process in order to uncover the original clarity of Scripture. Again, the result is clear but the process is not; this should govern the sermon as well!” (Page 27)
“Hirsch must be modified with the philosophically stronger technique of ‘speech-act theory,’ that movement from Wittgenstein to Searle to Thiselton and Vanhoozer that recognizes that both speech and written communication contain three actions—locutionary (what it says), illocutionary (what it does), and perlocutionary (what it effects) dimensions (see app. 2). The interpreter is studying the movements of a text and seeking to uncover both meaning and significance in these three dimensions.” (Page 23)
[The Hermeneutical Spiral] will become a standard seminary-level textbook and is a must for all academic bookstores.
—John Kohlenberger III
The Hermeneutical Spiral is the best introduction to the practice of Biblical interpretation to come along in years, perhaps ever. If you have been wondering which one of a plethora of recent books on hermeneutics to add to your bookshelf, make it Osborne’s.
—Ted Dorman, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Seminary students, pastors, and teachers alike will benefit from the rich resources of this volume.
—John A. Jelinek, Michigan Theological Journal
Each chapter of Osborne’s book is a worthwhile entrée from the hermeneutical menu he is serving. . . One can expect this title to crop up in the footnotes and bibliographies of good books on every aspect of hermeneutics for years to come.
Grant R. Osborne (1942–2018) was an award-winning author and theologian. Osborne earned a PhD from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. He has also did academic research at at the University of Cambridge and the University of Marburg.
Osborne served as the professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Prior to that, he taught at Winnipeg Theological Seminary and the University of Aberdeen.
Osborne was a member of the Society of Biblical Literature, the Evangelical Theological Society, and the Institute of Biblical Research. His areas of expertise included the Gospels, hermeneutics, and the book of Revelation.
Along with editing The IVP New Testament Commentary Series and The Life Application Bible Commentary, Osborne also authored several titles including The Hermeneutical Spiral, the volume on Revelation in the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament series, and several other commentary volumes.