Oxford Encyclopedia of Biblical Interpretation

January 23, 2014 — 2 Comments

9780199832262I am excited to see that the new Oxford Encyclopedia of Biblical Interpretation has hit the shelf, but boy it is pricey!

 

The two-volume Oxford Encyclopedia of Biblical Interpretation (OEBI) fills a crucial need in the field of biblical studies by providing detailed, comprehensive treatments of the latest approaches to and methods for interpretation of the Bible written by expert practitioners. It will provide a single source for authoritative reference overviews of scholarship on some of the most important topics of study in the field of biblical studies. As with all high quality reference works, it provides a solid foundation that students and scholars can use to orientate themselves before venturing into original research.

The Encyclopedia contains nearly 120 entries, ranging in length from 3,000 to 5,000 words. It is organized in an A-to-Z format. Each entry is signed, contains a bibliography for further reading, and is cross-referenced to other useful points of interest within the Encyclopedia. It also features a topical outline of contents and an extensive index.

Shawn Wilhite has posted a little teaser of what you get out of the articles. He gives the four concluding points from Paul Blowers article on “Patristic Interpretation.” Below are what Blowers calls axioms of patristic hermeneutical principles.

(1) First is the conviction of the internal unity and harmony of the Bible, discernible [sic] solely through careful attention to the letter and to hidden meanings, and through assiduous inter-scriptural interpretation.

(2) Second, the divine Word is semantically inexhaustible and polyvalent, with any text admitting of multiple legitimate meanings, allowing for the possibility of fresh insight, an ever ‘fuller sense’ (sensus plenior). Exegesis must accordingly adapt to the texts’ sophistication and pliability.

(3) Third, the church is the primary hermeneutical matrix, since interpretation functions foremost to shape Christian identity, doctrinal consistency, liturgical and sacramental practices, and ethics.

(4) Finally, scripture is sacramental communication, a medium of the presence of Christ the Logos, in which case interpretation itself demands the abiding presence and aid of the Holy Spirit.[1]


[1] Paul M. Blowers, “Patristic Interpretation,” in The Oxford Encyclopedia of Biblical Interpretation, ed. Steven L. McKenzie, vol. 2 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013), 87–88.

Patrick Schreiner

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I teach New Testament at Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon. I am married with three children. This blog, against all wisdom, includes anything I am interested in. That includes movies, music, theology, culture, hermeneutics, the Gospels, and politics. Feel free to comment and let me know you are reading or that you have found something helpful. I reserve the right to delete unhelpful or rude comments. Many of these posts are simply things I find interesting and therefore I am not asserting I agree with everything I link to.

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