The Two Horizons--New Testament Hermeneutics and Philosophical Description [Book Review]

Review of Metaphysics 35 (1):172-174 (1981)
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This lengthy and handsomely documented study will be foundational for all who are concerned with the relationship of philosophical hermeneutics to the issues and problems of New Testament interpretation. Based on a dissertation which B. F. Torrance in a laudatory foreword calls "one of the most competent I have ever read," The Two Horizons offers not only about a hundred and fifty pages of general introduction to hermeneutical issues, including chapters on "Hermeneutics and History: The Issue of Historical Distance," "Hermeneutics and Theology: The Legitimacy and Necessity of Hermeneutics," and "Hermeneutics and Language," but also major expository chapters on three of the most important figures in twentieth century philosophical hermeneutics. Two chapters are devoted to early Heidegger, a chapter to "Gadamer's Philosophical Hermeneutics and Its Implications for New Testament Interpretation," a chapter to "The Later Heidegger, Gadamer, and the New Hermeneutic," three chapters to Bultmann's hermeneutics, and finally two chapters to Wittgenstein and New Testament interpretation. Wittgenstein is not ordinarily associated with "philosophical hermeneutics," but Thiselton makes an excellent case for doing so. On the other hand, the work of Paul Ricoeur, which has figured importantly not only in philosophical hermeneutics as such but in the interstice between it and New Testament interpretation, receives no substantial consideration. The list of works cited is well over four hundred and could serve as a valuable checklist on theological hermeneutics in the seventies.



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