Reviews - What do customers think about Semantics of Biblical Language?
a classic study on biblical interpretive procedures Jun 3, 2000
The need for this study arose due to the popularity of a movement known as "biblical theology" which relied heavily on certain interpretive procedures which constantly mishandled or distorted the linguistic evidence. Although the author is not interested in critisizing biblical theology itself, he is interested in critisizing certain methods used in the handling of linguistic evidence used in theological discussion. This book is a critique on those interpretive methods.
In biblical interpretation there exists not only the problem of translation, but also the problem of transculturation, which means we must consider the gaps between not only a Semitic language, an Indo-European language (Greek), and our own modern language, but also the gaps between the Ancient Near East, the Roman Empire, and our own modern culture. The author observes that it is doubtful that any other sphere of life other than the theological has so many people without special training who continually attempt a semantic transference across such gaps.
While the author assumes that the reader will have a basic understanding of Hebrew and Greek, he actually writes more to "the middle of the road" in order to reach as wide an audience as possible, and is neither overly technical nor too simplistic. As such, even those who have no training in the biblical languages will be able to benefit from reading it. For instance, the chapter on contrast of Hebrew and Greek thought, which is quite informative, uses no foreign terms.
This book, which was first published in 1961, has withstood the test of time, and the interpretive knowledge contained within its pages is just as pertinent today as when it was first written. This is a classic study and should be required reading for serious students of the Bible.