The question of interpretation is as old as language itself. In today’s postmodern context, however, the task of hermeneutics has become frustratingly complex. This timely collection of essays by ten leading scholars explores the diversity of contemporary Christian hermeneutical theory and practice.
The format of the book consists of a major essay and a response in each of four disciplines- philosophy, English, sociology, and theology- leading to differences in definition and practice, but with the common framework of a Christian perspective. Nicholas Wolterstorff asks, How does one balance the humanity of the biblical authors with the understanding that the Bible is the Word of God? Donald Marshall asks the fundamental question, Can truth come to us through an interpretation? David Lyon explores how developments in biblical hermeneutics have led to the relativism and cynicism of contemporary theories of interpretation. Kevin J. Vanhoozer questions postmodern theory in general and deconstruction in particular. Those who respond to these four authors find some agreement but also some disagreement with their positions.
In their insightful handling of the most challenging contemporary issues and literature on interpretive theory, the authors seek to negotiate the narrow straits between absolute certainty and interpretative license. And as they chart the turbulent waters of the postmodern world, they serve as savvy guides to assist us in our difficult passage to the truth.
Roger Lundin is professor of English at Wheaton College in Illinois. He is the author of the widely respected book The Culture of Interpretation: Christian Faith and the Postmodern World.