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Renowned scholar Craig Bartholomew, coauthor of the bestselling textbook The Drama of Scripture (75,000 copies sold), writes in his main area of expertise–hermeneutics–to help seminarians pursue a lifetime of biblical interpretation. Integrating the latest research in theology, philosophy, and biblical studies, this substantive hermeneutics textbook is robustly theological in its approach, takes philosophical hermeneutics seriously, keeps the focus throughout on the actual process of interpreting Scripture, and argues that biblical interpretation should be centered in the context and service of the church–an approach that helps us hear God’s address today.


Part 1: Approaching Biblical Interpretation
1. Biblical Interpretation Coram Deo
2. Listening and Biblical Interpretation
Part 2: Biblical Interpretation and Biblical Theology
3. The Story of Our World
4. The Development of Biblical Theology
Part 3: The Story of Biblical Interpretation
5. The Traditions within Which We Read
6. Early and Medieval Jewish Biblical Interpretation
7. Renaissance, Reformation, and Modernity
8. Canon
Part 4: Biblical Interpretation and the Academic Disciplines
9. Philosophy and Hermeneutics
10. History
11. Literature
12. Theology
13. Scripture and the University: The Ecology of Christian Scholarship
Part 5: The Goal of Biblical Interpretation
14. The “Epistle” to the Hebrews: But We Do See Jesus
15. Preaching the Bible for All It’s Worth: The Resurrection of the Sermon and the Incarnation of the Christ


“This impressive book builds upon and develops the many insights of the Scripture and Hermeneutics series, which Bartholomew coedited. It therefore includes sophisticated work on truth, listening to Scripture, biblical theology, tradition, historical-critical methods, canon, philosophy, history, literature, theology, and academic inquiry. It embodies detailed discussion with leading thinkers in these fields and offers many wise and commonsense evaluations. Above all it stresses the need to listen to Scripture and to God. I warmly commend this book.”

~Anthony C. Thiselton, emeritus professor of Christian theology, University of Nottingham

“Craig Bartholomew has been laboring in the fields of biblical interpretation and hermeneutics for years, and this book represents the abundant harvest, gathering fruit from many academic fields. The subtitle means what it says: Bartholomew enlists various academic disciplines in the task of hearing God’s Word in Scripture. He is explicit about his trinitarian commitments and about the goal of biblical interpretation as obedient attention to God’s address. There is an entire chapter on devotional listening, the fundamental posture from which to undertake exegetical analysis. Other chapters cover the story of the Bible (biblical theology) and the history of its interpretation. Bartholomew also provides a constructive account of how biblical interpretation engages philosophy, history, literature, and theology.”

~Kevin J. Vanhoozer, Research Professor of Systematic Theology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School


“Any individual interested in biblical hermeneutics should have this volume on a readily accessible shelf. Any classes on the subject should have it as an indispensable vade mecum. The chapters on the history of biblical interpretation are fascinating in themselves, and the treatment of individual subjects, like philosophy and hermeneutics, is never less than well informed and intriguing. Highly recommended.”

~James D. G. Dunn, Emeritus Lightfoot Professor of Divinity, Durham University


“Craig Bartholomew offers his readers a wide-ranging conversation on biblical hermeneutics. Drawing on an impressive array of historical and contemporary voices, he explores biblical interpretation and its intersection with such companion disciplines as philosophy, biblical theology, and homiletics. He puts forth an academically seasoned hermeneutic to be performed in the presence of God and centered in the church–what he refers to as ‘faith-full’ biblical interpretation. Bartholomew’s gift to his reader is the opportunity to think deeply about Scripture in the company of a seasoned scholar.”

~Jeannine Brown, professor of New Testament, Bethel Seminary San Diego


“Bartholomew has provided an exhaustive history of interpretation and philosophical hermeneutics in the key of narrative theology, with forays into trinitarian exegesis and lectio divina. The result is a smorgasbord of evangelical learning in the service of hearing God’s word in our day. A lifetime of wide reading and reflection has gone into this project.”

Christopher Seitz, senior research professor of biblical interpretation, Wycliffe College, University of Toronto


“Reading this book is like feasting on a banquet of many courses. With consummate skill Bartholomew weaves together theology, philosophy, history, and exegesis, demonstrating convincingly that biblical interpretation attains its end only when Scripture is heard in faith as God’s address. This book will undoubtedly be a landmark in hermeneutics for many years to come.”

Mary Healy, associate professor of Sacred Scripture, Sacred Heart Major Seminary


Introducing Biblical Hermeneutics is a triumph. Craig Bartholomew provides a clear and gripping account of what it means to hear Scripture as God’s Word. On this view the Bible is not primarily an object of study to be dissected but a dynamic force that shapes our living and thinking. God speaks to us through Scripture, and we are changed people. However, this is no anti-intellectual rejection of the life of reason. Rather, Bartholomew shows how biblical hermeneutics can shape and renew scholarly work at the highest levels, including the study of the Bible itself.”

C. Stephen Evans, University Professor of Philosophy and Humanities, Baylor University; professorial fellow, Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry, Australian Catholic University


“The interpretation of the Bible has been held captive by methodological reason in the context of the academy for the past few centuries in both the liberal and evangelical traditions. Certainly, there have been great gains. However, these have come at great cost. Interpretative practices have often been separated from a careful and prayerful listening for God’s address. Believing that rigorous scholarship and an attentive listening to the Spirit belong together, Craig Bartholomew repositions the insights of hermeneutical reflection squarely within the larger context of listening to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. The question at every point is, how does this hermeneutical approach deepen our listening for God’s address? This is a hermeneutical approach I wish I had been taught early in my theological education.”

Michael W. Goheen, director of theological education and scholar in residence, Missional Training Center-Phoenix


“Craig Bartholomew’s new introduction to hermeneutics is a milestone for biblical interpretation. Clearly the fruit of decades of learning, the book expresses a clear vision of a biblical hermeneutics aimed at hearing God’s address today. This work synthesizes current insights from hermeneutics, theology, philosophy, homiletics, and biblical studies in a manner that is, to my mind, unmatched. As we should expect by now, the volume is vintage Bartholomew: extraordinarily learned, exceptionally readable, and constructive in its proposal. Introducing Biblical Hermeneutics is the standard to which I shall return again and again.”

Heath A. Thomas, director of PhD studies and associate professor of Old Testament and Hebrew, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary


“A magisterial textbook, but much more than a textbook. Every aspect of biblical hermeneutics is thoroughly explored in a readable, engaging, and stimulating manner. The real joy of the book, however, lies in the subtitle: ‘for hearing God in Scripture.’ This transforms the hermeneutical task from an exercise between a reader and an object (the Bible) to an encounter between a listener and a person (God). The former requires good and proper methods, tools, and wisdom, all of which matter greatly. The latter calls for response, faith, repentance, and obedience, all of which matter even more. Bartholomew not only explains both dimensions but also models them again and again. From the subtitle on the opening page, we move in a fitting way to the closing chapter on preaching the Bible. For if the ecclesial context of authentic biblical hermeneutics is crucial, then the church needs to know again the story we are in, which requires renewed commitment to preaching the whole counsel of God from the whole canon of Scripture. This book provides ample resources for just such a challenge.”

Christopher J. H. Wright, Langham Partnership


“This book is a versatile tool for research. It could serve as a textbook in biblical hermeneutics but equally well as a source for complementary readings on inspiration, canon, exegesis, revelation, the definition of theology, the historical and contemporary practice of biblical interpretation, the relationship between theology and biblical exegesis, and the role of the Bible in preaching, Christian spirituality, and missionary work. As a Catholic, I see and welcome in it a great openness to both the riches of patristic studies and the recent waves of what is often called ressourcement. Equally gratifying is Bartholomew’s personal example of listening to not only a large corpus of Protestant biblical research but also a large variety of voices promoting biblical theology in the Catholic Church, past and present.”

Denis Farkasfalvy, research scholar in theology, University of Dallas; abbot emeritus of the Cistercian Abbey of Our Lady of Dallas


“A book that stands out in a crowded catalog of hermeneutics texts, Craig Bartholomew’s Introducing Biblical Hermeneutics deserves careful attention. With characteristic erudition and lucidity, Bartholomew provides a Trinitarian hermeneutic that carries the reader all the way from devotional reading of Scripture to the ecclesial reception of the preached Word. The reader learns to read Scripture humbly and prayerfully, seeking not only information but also transformation by the living Christ. Along the way, Bartholomew masterfully relates biblical interpretation to biblical theology, systematic theology, philosophical hermeneutics, preaching, and the disciplines of the modern university. A unique and thought-provoking addition to the field of hermeneutics.”

Bruce Ashford, provost and dean of the faculty and professor of theology and culture, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary


About the Author

Craig G. Bartholomew (PhD, University of Bristol) is the H. Evan Runner Professor of Philosophy at Redeemer University College in Ancaster, Ontario. He founded the internationally recognized Scripture and Hermeneutics Seminar and is the author of several books.

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