Cover Image: Gospel-Centered Hermeneutics

Gospel-Centered Hermeneutics:
Biblical-Theological Foundations and Principles

Graeme Goldsworthy (IVP, 2006)

Blurb Review by Abe Kuruvilla


While there are now many publications on hermeneutics, Graeme Goldsworthy's perception is that evangelical contributions tend not to give sufficient attention to the vital relationship between hermeneutics and both systematic and biblical theology. In this excellent exposition, Goldsworthy does not simply re-iterate material elsewhere, but concentrates on theological questions of presuppositions and the implications of the Christian gospel for hermeneutics, and brings fresh perspectives on well-worn pathways. The aim throughout is to commend the much-neglected role of biblical theology in hermeneutical practice, with pastoral concern for the people of God as they read, interpret, and seek to live by his written Word.


Introduction: Can hermeneutics be saved?

Part I - Evangelical Prolegomena to Hermeneutics
1. The necessity for hermeneutics
Much ado about nothing?
What is/are hermeneutics
The necessity for hermeneutics
Communication and its principles
Divine communication
The dimensions of hermeneutics

2. Presuppositions in reading and understanding
The historical shift in presuppositions
Alternative presuppositional stances in theological study
The unavoidability of presuppositions Basic evangelical presuppositions
Grace alone
Christ alone
Scripture alone
Faith alone
The four ‘alones' and the Trinity
The function of evangelical doctrine
Christology and hermeneutics

3. Gospel-centred hermeneutics
The presuppositions of the gospel
The gospel and noetic salvation
Christ as mediator means the gospel is the hermeneutic norm of Scripture
The resurrection and hermeneutics
Christocentricity is not Christomonism

4. Towards a biblical theology of interpretation
The method of biblical theology
Creation and fall
Torah (the Pentateuch)
The Gospels
The epistles

Part II - Challenges to Evangelical Hermeneutics


5. The eclipse of the gospel in the early church
The context of hermeneutics
The sub-apostolic age
Allegory and the Alexandrines
Typology and the Antiochenes

6. The eclipse of the gospel in the medieval church
Precursors to medieval interpretation
The later medieval period
The scholastic theologians

7. The eclipse of the gospel in Roman Catholicism
The theological antecedents
Thomas Aquinas and Tridentine Catholicism
Modern Catholicism

8. The eclipse of the gospel in liberalism
The Enlightenment
Liberal Protestantism of the Enlightenment
Schleiermacher's hermeneutics of understanding

9. The eclipse of the gospel in philosophical hermeneutics On being eclectic
The devolution of hermeneutics
Postmodernism: total eclipse?

10. The eclipse of the gospel in historical criticism
The problem of the method
The growth of the historical-critical method
Ernst Troeltsch
The problem of history
Challenges to the historical nature of the gospel
The new hermeneutic and historical criticism
Postmodernism and history Assessment

11. The eclipse of the gospel in literary criticism
The place of literary criticism
Modern literary hermeneutics
Author-centred approaches
Text-centred approaches: the New Criticism and structuralism
Postmodernism and reader-centred approaches

12. The eclipse of the gospel in evangelicalism
Hermeneutical perfectionism
Quietism: evangelical Docetism
Literalism: evangelical Zionism
Legalism: evangelical Judaism
Decisionism: evangelical Bultmannism
Subjectivism: evangelical Schleiermacherism
‘Jesus-in-my-heart-ism': evangelical Catholicism
Evangelical pluralism
Evangelical pragmatism

Part III - Reconstructing Evangelical Hermeneutics


13. Pre- and post-Enlightenment evangelical interpretation
The pre-Enlightenment background to evangelical belief
Post-Enlightenment evangelical scholarship
Contemporary re-evaluation of Reformation principles

14. The gospel and the literary dimension
Biblical literature
The biblical-theological context of the literature
The dogmatic-theological context of the literature
The nature of exegesis
Linguistics Speech-act theory
Some conclusions

15. The gospel and the historical dimension
A Christian theological philosophy of history
The gospel and God's perspective on history
The gospel and the believer's perspective on history
History and biblical hermeneutics

16. The gospel and the theological dimension (I): the two Testaments and typology
The relationship of Old Testament and New Testament
Unity and diversity in the history of interpretation
Unity and diversity in recent biblical theology
Thematic polarities between the Testaments
The typology debate: the basis and nature of typology
Jesus and reality
The dimensions of reality in the biblical revelation

17. The gospel and the theological dimension (II): biblical and systematic theology
Foundations of evangelical biblical theology
The hermeneutical role of biblical theology
The hermeneutical role of systematic theology
The relationship of biblical and systematic theology

18. The gospel and contextualization
Culture and understanding The modern emergence of contextualization
Problems in contextualizing
Is there a biblical theology of contextualization?
Contextualization in translation

19. The hermeneutics of Christ Summary
The hermeneutics of the person of Christ
The hermeneutics of the work of Christ
The hermeneutics of the glorification of Christ
The hermeneutics of the Spirit of Christ
Christians and their Bible: hands-on hermeneutics

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