Toward an Exegetical Theology: Biblical Exegesis for Preaching and Teaching
~Walter C. Kaiser
Click to enlarge...
List price: $21.99|
Our price: $14.95
Usually ships in 24 hours
Average customer rating:
4.5 out of 5
ISBN/ASIN : 0801021979
Manufacturer : Baker Academic|
Release data : July, 1998
Search for related products
A selection of product reviews
The Top Book of Chip's Top Ten (wordsntone.com)
No other book helped me to become better at studying the Bible and preaching. Should be required reading for all pastors, missionaries, and anyone who stands before others and says, "This is what the Bible says." If I had a million dollars, I'd buy a copy for every pastor in American. Don't hesitate-Get it, read it, follow it!
A Solid Work, With Some Questions
In this work, Dr. Kaiser takes us deep into the text, and lays out a very nice and practical framework for interpreting scripture. He does a decent job of hitting the middle ground with format-the book will likely retain the interest of a Hebrew and Greek scholar, yet at the same time is usable by the one who is not schooled in Biblical languages.
I rated the book a four rather than five for just a couple of areas where I think Kaiser may be a bit too stringent in his approach. He teaches an overly restrictive (in my view) principle of limiting interpretation to only that developed theology which the hearers could have been informed of at the time. I would argue that a solid hermeneutic can include pursuant informing theology to be transported in reverse chronology to a passage, if it is done carefully in line with the analogy of faith. It would seem that we short-change the passage in light of God's full counsel if we limit it to the theology resident in the original audience.
Kaiser also is strongly against any "double sense" of prophecy and while on one hand it is the conservative approach, it may be overly so in that it discounts rabbinical history and interpretation, and it tends to "flatten" scripture which is obviously multi-dimensional in fulfillment.
Secondly, at the risk of contradicting my compliment regarding the format of the book, Kaiser takes the micro-analysis of language to a slightly annoying level. I'm not sure which came first, but the (in my view) slight over-emphasis on language in this work seem to contradict his earlier work in _Introduction To Biblical Hermeneutics_ where Kaiser/Silva actually warn about an under emphasis or over-emphasis on Greek and Hebrew language. It would seem that an exegete strictly following the approach in this book could get so caught up in parsing and analyzing syntax as to miss the plain and literal meaning.
Yet, even with the slight nit-picks that cost the book a star in my view, this is still a solid work that will remain on my shelf. Even the negatives from my point of view are squarely on the side of conservative scholarship and the grammatical-historical school of interpretation. It's a good foundational work in hermeneutics.
Help on moving from the study to the pulpit
Walter C. Kaiser is Distinguished Professor of Old Testament and president of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Massachusetts. This book is partly Kaiser's response to the crisis in exegetical theology. This crisis begins with how to interrupt the Bible and extends to how one makes it relevant to today through the act of preaching . Here, Kaiser seeks to remedy the problems that exist in these areas by offering what he calls the syntactical-theological method of interpretation. He also includes some practical advice on what he calls "special issues." Kaiser ends with an encouraging chapter on the power of God.
The book is presented in two main sections. The first section, after the introduction, deals specifically with how to analyze the text of Scripture. Kaiser takes the reader through the viewing the passage contextually, syntactically, verbally, theologically, and homiletically. In each of these sections, Kaiser is attempting to help the interpreter understand the passage within the larger context of Scripture. That is, to not only understand what the text itself means, but also to understand how it fits into the sections that surround it, the book as a whole, and eventually, the entire canon. Each step that he explains to the reader is a means to this end. The second section outlines how one should handle those special issues that arise when moving from text to sermon - specifically, how one should handle prophecy, narrative, and poetic texts.
With this book, Kaiser has given the preacher a great resource. He ably walks the reader through the various ways in which individuals and groups have approached God's word and evaluates each in light the approach that he advocates in the book. Kaiser also does a good job of explaining why he interprets the way he does and how he goes about doing it. Of course, the whole book is designed to teach this method of interpretation while simultaneously helping pastors understand Scripture in way that helps him preach the text well. Probably the most helpful section of this book is found in the second half of the book. There he illustrates how to outline a passage and deals with the unique concerns of preaching from prophecy, narrative, and poetry sections of Scripture.
One critique that I have comes in Kaiser's handling of some of the Old Testament texts. One example in particular is his handling of Nehemiah (pp. 205-210). It seems that he moves too quickly to application and possibly misses the point of the text. Surely there must be more to the book of Nehemiah than advice on how to be a godly leader and deal with trouble that threatens one's leadership or the progress he is trying to make? Where is the mention of God's plan for Nehemiah and the people of Israel in his day? How does that figure into how we apply the text? While, Kaiser's reading is certainly in line with much of the popular, contemporary teaching on Nehemiah, which sees only leadership principles in its pages, I hesitate in accepting this `bare' reading of the text. This hesitation only comes in a few places, because for the most part, I agree whole-heartedly with Kaiser's approach to the Bible and the move from original message to contemporary sermon that he advocates in the rest of the book.