Review: @AccordanceBible’s “History of Biblical Interpretation (Volumes 1-3)”

You can get it here and read the announcement here.

We are often inundated with a myriad of ways to interpret our holy library. We have resources dedicated to various people who have done so; however, it is helpful to have a resource detailing what their efforts have produced. Eerdmans ‘3 Volume set does this and with the availability on the Accordance platform, it is another way for those of us engage in local church ministry to easily have a wealthy of information at our fingertips.

The three volumes divide up the last 2000+ years like this:

The Ancient Period (Volume 1) (2008): This first volume of A History of Biblical Interpretation explores interpreters and their methods in the ancient period, from the very earliest stages to the time when the canons of Judaism and Christianity gained general acceptance. The first part of the book concentrates on the use of the Scriptures within Judaism. The second part of the book probes themes specific to Christian interpretation of the biblical texts. In addition to these in-depth studies, the volume includes a substantial introduction by the editors that gives readers both a broad overview of the primary issues and features of ancient biblical interpretation as treated in this volume and a means of sampling the ways in which the key figures, schools of interpretation, and issues discussed interweave and contrast with each other.

The Medieval through the Reformation Periods (2009): This volume examines themes such as the variety of interpretative developments within Judaism during this period, the achievements of the Carolingian era and the later scholastic developments within the universities.

The Enlightenment through the Nineteenth Century (Volume 3) (2017): This third installment examines the period after the Reformation until the dawn of the twentieth century. Its essays cover broad intellectual and historical movements such as historical criticism, textual criticism, and the quest for the historical Jesus. Other contributions focus on particular individuals, including Baruch Spinoza, Friedrich Schleiermacher, and F. C. Baur.

The scholarship is what you’d expect for from Eerdmans’: Davies, Evans, Watson, Baird, and Olbricht among others. These scholars cover a wide swatch of biblical interpretive history allowing for a solid piece on each time period.

With Accordance, you get the easy download and immediate insertion into the library — without time wasted indexing. You get your hyperlinks… and for those volumes updated since the first publication of this set, you get the updated works numbers (See the Luther picture below.)

Speaking of pictures…

It is rather nice to have the hyperlinks into other works
Granted, I do not have the Lutheran set; but the hyperlink exists and Accordance is kind enough to offer to take me there to purchase it.
The chapters are laid out nice and neat along with the subheadings. This makes finding what information I need really simple. You can also se what happens when I highlight a note.
The section on Wesley is rather short and almost lacking. Wesley allowed that Tradition would help with interpreting Scripture. On the other hand, it is nice to have Wesley mentioned and mostly accurately. Further, as you can see in the search line, it took be no time to come to the one who righted Anglican’s ship. Also, notice that at the top, right about the words John Wesley and the lifespan… is the name of the author of this particular chapter. In regards to the English Reformation, the section on this is well done and goes beyond Cranmer to Jewel and the KJV. In my opinion, the set is complete if we focus beyond the “big names.”

The volumes are nicely done and should aid the scholar, student, and teacher to better understand how to interpret Scripture according to Sacred Tradition. As we have seen, it is not always the same. Going through these pages… it reminds me of the ways I have offered interpretation in the past. Sometimes literal, sometimes not. But I am not alone, it would seem.

The value of having this on Accordance outpaces the standard reason to have electronic copies. Accordance’s set up of these volumes allows us quick access, easy navigation, and hyperlinks. It makes it immediately useable.

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