New Testament Interpretation: Essays on Principles and Methods

Essays on New Testament Interpretation
Essays on New Testament Interpretation

In 1977 Howard Marshall edited a collection of essays on New Testament interpretation contributed by some of the best Evangelical scholars in the UK, many of whom have since gone to their reward, including Marshall himself. The volume has proved to be of enduring value to students, particularly F.F Bruce’s masterful summary of the history of New Testament study. All of the essays are available for free download, thanks to the kind permission of Paternoster Press. Click on the individual articles to download.

I. Howard Marshall, ed. New Testament Interpretation: Essays on Principles and Methods. Carlisle: The Paternoster Press, 1977, revised 1979, 1985. Pbk. pp.406.

Contents

Editor’s Foreword

Introduction – I. Howard Marshall

Part I – The Background To Interpretation II

The History of New Testament Study – F.F. Bruce

Presuppositions in New Testament Criticism – Graham N. Stanton

Part II – The Use of Critical Methods in Interpretation

Semantics and New Testament Interpretation – Anthony C. Thiselton

Questions of Introduction – Donald Guthrie

The Religious Background – John W. Drane

Historical Criticism – I. Howard Marshall

Source Criticism – David Wenham

Form Criticism – Stephen H. Travis

Tradition History – David R. Catchpole

Redaction Criticism – Stephen S. Smalley

Part III – The Task of Exegesis XII

How the New Testament Uses the Old – E. Earle Ellis

Approaches To New Testament Exegesis – Ralph P. Martin

Exegesis in Practice: Two Examples – R.T. France

Demythologising – The Problem of Myth in the New Testament – James D.G. Dunn

The New Hermeneutic – Anthony C. Thiselton

The Authority of the New Testament – Robin Nixon

Expounding the New Testament – John Goldingay

Bibliography

Indexes

Learning From Ancient Exegesis

St Jerome (from Andre Thevet)
St Jerome (from Andre Thevet)

I am grateful to the Evangelical Homiletics Society for their kind permission to place on-line the following article, which explains what we can learn from examples of ancient exegesis of the biblical text:

Timothy J. Ralston, “‘Back to the Future’: Classical Categories of Exegesis, Application and Authority for Preaching and Spiritual Formation,” Journal of the Evangelical Homiletics Society 3.2 (2003): 33-51.

Summary (from text)

The categories lectio continua, lectio semi-continua, lectio selecta and lectio divina describe hermeneutical approaches to the application of scripture. Consequently these categories provide a helpful means to classify the hermeneutical validity of an application presented in a sermon and, by implication, the relative authority of the ethic derived from one’s interaction with a biblical text. They also offer a well accepted taxonomy to understand the differing use of the Bible in the spiritual formation of individuals and Christian communities. Therefore, they represent valuable categories worthy of recovery and adoption for evaluating sermons.

Perhaps I state the obvious. I hope so. Most (if not all) Evangelicals express a genuine commitment to the ideal of lectio continua, that which we believe lies at the heart of preaching in the tradition of sola scriptura. Often, however, our preaching hermeneutic, even that which designates itself as “expository,” displays more of the characteristics of lectio selecta or lectio divina. Unfortunately few appreciate the difference and most aren’t aware of the problem.

The Holy Spirit is not limited by the poverty of a method, but the weakness of our application to reflect the results of authoritative exegesis must surely detract from the simplicity of the Bible’s authority as it speaks to human need. Ultimately, anything less than lectio continua in preaching undermines a local church’s ability to form the lives of its members according to scripture and to engage with other Christian communities in obedience to our Lord’s requirement of unity in faith and witness – the measure of true Christian maturity and the measure of success in our effort toward the spiritual formation of the Body of Christ.

To read the full article click here. Visit the author’s web page here.