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dictionary of biblical criticism and interpretation .pdf

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Title: Dictionary of Biblical Criticism and Interpretation
Author: Stanley E. Porter

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Dictionary of
Biblical Criticism
and Interpretation
Compiling the results from contemporary and exciting areas of research into one single important volume, this
book stands ahead of its field in providing a comprehensive one-stop handbook reference of biblical interpretation.
Examining a wide range of articles on many of the recognized interpreters including Augustine, Luther, and
Calvin, up to the modern figures of Martin Hengel and T.W. Manson, Professor Porter gathers contributors
who expertly combine the study of biblical interpretation with the examination of the theological and philosophical preconceptions that have influenced it, and survey the history of interpretation from different perspectives.
Key perspectives studied include:
• the historical dimension: addresses how interpretation has developed at various periods of time, from early
Jewish exegesis to the historical-critical method;
• the conceptual approach: looks at the various schools of thought that have generated biblical interpretation,
and compares and contrasts competing conceptual models of interpretation;
• the personal perspective: addresses the reality of biblical interpretation by individuals who have helped plot
the course of theological development.
With relevant bibliographies as a guide to further reading, the Dictionary will be an extremely important reference tool held for many years, not only by libraries, but also by students, scholars, clergy, and teachers of this
fascinating and high-profile subject.
Stanley E. Porter is an award-winning editor and author. He has edited over forty volumes, including the
Handbook of Classical Rhetoric in the Hellenistic Period (1997), the Handbook to Exegesis of the New Testament (1997)
and, with Craig Evans, the Dictionary of New Testament Background (2000). He has also written ten books, including
Early Christianity and its Sacred Literature (2000), with Lee McDonald, and The Criteria for Authenticity in HistoricalJesus Research (2000). He is President, Dean and Professor of New Testament at McMaster Divinity College,
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Dictionary of
Biblical Criticism
and Interpretation
edited by Stanley E. Porter

Simultaneously published in the USA and Canada
by Routledge
270 Madison Ave, New York, NY 10016
First published 2007
by Routledge
2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN
Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor and Francis Group, an informa business
© 2007 Stanley E. Porter, individual contributors their contributions
This edition published in the Taylor & Francis e-Library, 2006.
“To purchase your own copy of this or any of Taylor & Francis or Routledge’s
collection of thousands of eBooks please go to www.eBookstore.tandf.co.uk.”

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced
or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means,
now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording,
or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in
writing from the publishers.
Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data
Dictionary of biblical criticism and interpretation/ed., Stanley E Porter.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
1. Bible—Criticism, interpretation, etc.—Dictionaries. I. Porter, Stanley E Porter., 1956–
BS440.D496 2006
British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library
ISBN 0-203-96975-8 Master e-book ISBN

ISBN10: 0–415–20100–4 (Print Edition)
ISBN13: 978–0–415–20100–1


List of entries and contributors
Entries A–Z


This dictionary has been a long time in the making.
At last it is released to the world – far from complete
(no dictionary could ever be), but willing to take its
place as one of the tools in the enterprise of biblical
criticism and interpretation. The title of the volume
reflects its aim. That is, to provide a dictionary-length
guide to major issues, approaches, and people that
have been important in the development of biblical
criticism and interpretation. Criticism addresses the
variety of methods that have been developed, especially
since the Enlightenment, to help us as biblical interpreters to come to terms with the issues surrounding
reading the Bible. Interpretation addresses the fact that
all these various methods, and those who have utilized
them – including those preceding modern critical
analysis – have been involved in helping biblical readers
to gain understanding. The scope of the dictionary
includes major time periods of biblical criticism and
interpretation, the range of corpora between the two
Testaments and other texts as well, critical approaches,
methods, and mind-sets of significance, and even a
variety of individual critics and interpreters. Whereas
we have some confidence that we have covered the
major critical periods and most of the significant
methods and approaches, it was necessary to be highly
selective regarding the individuals included. I apologize
here if you think that your favorite biblical scholar –
or even you, yourself! – should have been included but
was not.
This enterprise began with the idea of Richard
Stoneman, editor for Routledge. I wish to thank him
for encouraging the development of this project,
and for his patience as it took longer than anticipated.
My hope is that this dictionary will join the ranks of
the significant and growing list of Routledge volumes
that have come to be important for understanding
the ancient world, of which the Bible is a significant
At the outset of this project, I asked my then colleague Dr. Brook Pearson to be a coeditor with me.
He gladly undertook this task and initiated correspondence and kept the databases regarding the project.
Due to a variety of factors, he has been unable to continue with the project, and I have truly missed his

participation. I wish him the best in his own continuing scholarly endeavors. His separation from the project
corresponded to a time of transition for me from one
continent to another, which has occasioned the delay
in completion and publication.
In his stead, and at the last stages, my teaching and
research assistant, Andrew Gabriel, joined the project.
I wish to thank Andrew for tackling all dimensions of
the project so avidly, including the databases, the evergrowing stack of manuscripts, and the electronic files.
He has also been of great assistance in corresponding
with authors, recruiting last-minute participants, and
editing contributions.
My major debt is to the individual contributors. Over
the course of the years, a number have wondered
whether this project would ever see the black of print.
I am pleased to say that that day has finally arrived. I
thank you for your patience, and your faith in believing
that this project was far from dead. This volume brings
together scholars from several different continents, to
say nothing of many different countries. One of the
results of this has been the ability to benefit from a
variety of perspectives reflective of the places in which
these scholars do their critical work. Along the way,
some potential contributors had to withdraw, and others
had to be recruited. Some of these joined at the last
minute. I especially appreciate the willingness with
which a number of last-minute contributors accepted
invitations and returned their contributions in a timely
and efficient manner. I am confident that the quality
of their contributions has been equal to the others,
and that readers will find a surprisingly high degree of
consistently fine contributions within this collection.
Thank you to each of you for offering your expertise
and for being willing to make a contribution to this
As a last word, I wish to encourage users and readers
of this volume to explore the depths of its riches. As
I reviewed articles, it became clear to me that the
tapestry of criticism and interpretation of the Bible is
complexly woven. The various strands include history,
literature, material remains, philosophy, and a variety
of other things. Many of the articles, even though the
individual contributors were unaware of it, were closely
v ii

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