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The History of the Bible

by Bobby Bruno  
3/29/2014 / Bible Studies

The article I am going to summarize was written by David W. Kim and is a review of an article entitled "History of Biblical Interpretation" written by William Yarchin (2004). The article appeared in the Journal of Religious History in 2008 and is published by the Hendrickson Publishers in Peabody, MA. The article being reviewed takes the reader through a short history of how we have reached the level of biblical interpretation we have today.

This article takes us through the timeline of who and when certain individuals made strides in our understanding of God's Word, starting with the Prerabbinic Jewish Interpretation (150 B.C.E. 70 C.E.) and finishing with the Late Modern Interpretation (1970 Present). In the Prerabbinic period, scripture was "read figuratively and allegorically, in that "God is the Speaker, humans are the writers, and (in that the) multiplicity of meaning (plain and obscure) is to be expected in the discursive space between what the words humanly say and what they divinely teach"" (pg. 153). Some of this allegorical interpretation can be seen in Jewish Law.

Next we have the Modern Interpretation (1500-2000) of scripture. In this era theory and logic became the tools to finding out the meaning of God's Word. This way of looking a scripture is a "quest "toward discerning what the biblical author had intended to communicate"" (pg. 154). This quest was a more scientific way of finding the meaning in what the Bible is telling us. Here the article tells of some of those who furthered this concept, such as Calvin, Spinoza, Gunkel, and many others who advanced our understanding.

The last era the article speaks about is the Late Modern Interpretation (1970 Present). Here it is stated that this is the era "in which the Bible having the determinate meaning was discovered "in its political, or historical, or religious, or psychological or authorial world"" (pg. 154). Some of the men who advanced this thinking were Childs, Levenson, Wink, and others.


Kim, D. (2008). History of biblical interpretation. JOURNAL OF RELIGIOUS HISTORY, 32(1), 153-155.

Bobby Bruno was saved 15 years ago in a way that left him no doubt that Jesus wanted him to reach others with His great and abounding love. He started writing at the age of 12 and hasn't stopped since. He achieved Associates Degree in Biblical Studies from Ohio Christian University in early 2014.

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