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TitleDictionary of Hermeneutics - James D. Hernando
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Total Pages153
Table of Contents
                            Title Page
Copyright Page
1. Terms and Expressions
2. Historical Schools / Periods of Interpretation
3. Prominent Figures in Hermeneutics
4. Interpretative Approaches and Methods
	Types of Biblical Criticism
	Methods, Movements, and Approaches
5. Literary Genres
6. Literary Devices
	Rhetorical/Literary Devices
	Figures of Speech
7. Related Terms from Other Disciplines
	Biblical Studies: Introduction and Background
	Biblical Theology (OT and NT)
	Systematic / Historical Theology
	Popular Terms and Expressions
Appendix: Pentecostal Hermeneutics / Hermeneutic
Selected Bibliography
Term Index
Additional Terms Request
Document Text Contents
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responsibility of declaring the will of God to His people and to encourage them to remain
faithful to His covenant with them.

A self-contained unit of inspired prophetic speech recorded in the Bible. Prophetic books are a
collection of oracles given at different times and under a specific set of historical circumstances.
It is best to interpret passages within the context of the oracle that contains them. Oracles include
a variety of literary genres and forms. Interpreters of prophecy are wise to become familiar with
the character and content of these forms. Three of the more common forms are legal (or lawsuit)
oracles, woe oracles, and salvation (or promise) oracles (Fee and Stuart, 160;37 Klein,
Blomberg, and Hubbard, 292–302).

As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I … He will
baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. —Matt. 3:11, NASB

Prophetic perspective
One of the problematic aspects of prophetic interpretation: Often the prophet brings together
separate events in his prediction of the future so that events that are distinct and distant in respect
to time are presented as one event. It can be likened to looking through a telescope, which
flattens the landscape so that objects both near and far appear on the same horizon and the same
distance away. Similarly, the prophets received prophetic visions of the future but did not see the
time gaps between future events (Duvall and Hays, 370–71; Kaiser and Silva, 143–44; Fee and
Stuart, 164–65). See text box.38

Psalm(s) (Gk. psalmos)
The Greek term psalmoi in the Septuagint translates the Hebrew word tehillim, which means
“praises.”39 This indicates that the Psalms were a collection of inspired prayers and hymns used in
Israel’s temple worship,40 and often sung to musical accompaniment. The title or superscriptions
attribute seventy-three of the psalms to David,41 suggesting the collection may have begun during
Israel’s united monarchy, although the final collection probably was completed in the postexilic
period for worship in the rebuilt temple.

Psalms as Hebrew poetry are a distinct genre, having a number of categories, all functioning to
give inspired expression of prayer, praise, lament, and other forms of reflection on God.42 The
purposes vary according to the circumstances and perspectives of the psalmist, whose passion,
candor, and vulnerability make for easy identification with the modern reader. The most
distinguishing literary feature of the Psalms is PARALLELISM.

Two cautions are needed for interpreters of the Psalms. First, while the Psalms contain doctrine,
their primary purpose is liturgical not doctrinal.43 Therefore, we need to exercise caution in assuming
that what is stated or described translates immediately into doctrine. Secondly, as Hebrew poetry, the
Psalms are full of metaphors, symbols, i.e., nonliteral language. Moreover, the language of the Psalms
is often highly emotive (see COMMISSIVE LANGUAGE) and expresses the raw emotion of the psalmist’s
reaction to trial, tragedy, and triumph. The interpreter must distinguish between what is expressed in
the psalm and what is taught by the psalmist (Fee and Stuart, 169–85; Harris, 212–15; Duvall and

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Hays, 351–52).44

Daughters of Israel, weep for Saul, who clothed you in scarlet and finery, who adorned your garments with ornaments
of gold. —2 Sam. 1:24

A funeral lament that was part of ancient mourning rites. It included expressions of lament,
description of some disaster (the cause of lament), and a call to people to join in mourning.
Although the Psalms contain no pure examples of dirges, their literary influence can be seen in
several psalms (35, 44, 74, 137), in the Book of Lamentations, and in the private laments of
David (2 Sam. 1:19–27; 3:33–34), as well as being embedded in the prophetic material (Klein,
Blomberg, and Hubbard, 272–73, 285–86).

Break the teeth in their mouths, O God; LORD, tear out the fangs of those lions! —Ps. 58:6

Imprecatory (psalms)
Psalms of lament (or complaint) that vividly call for God’s judgment and wrath to fall on the
author’s enemies. The problem for many critics lies in the fact that both what the psalmist asks
for and the disposition he petitions in seem anything but “Christian.” The interpreter must
remember that imprecatory language is intentionally exaggerated (see HYPERBOLE) to convey the
intensity of the psalmist’s feelings of outrage over evil, injustice, etc. Moreover, in the majority
of cases the psalmist is speaking as a representative of God’s people who under His covenant
had promised to avenge Israel on her enemies (Ps. 94:1–11; Deut. 32:35). Therefore,
imprecatory psalms are not requests for personal vengeance but a passionate appeal to God for
national justice.45

Wisdom literature
A collection of biblical writings46 that contains a description of how to live in a “wise” manner
before God.47 Wisdom in the Bible is the life application of knowledge or truth learned from
experience (Fee and Stuart, 187, 189). That is to say, wisdom is very practical and does not expound
truth that is merely theoretical. Wisdom literature does not designate a single genre but is made up of
a combination of various subgenres (see below).48 Consequently, interpreters must acquaint
themselves with the various literary features and characteristics of each subgenre they encounter
(Kaiser and Silva, 99–103).

A subgenre of wisdom literature that teaches what wisdom is not by issuing a warning against a
particular course of action. Often there is some indication of the negative consequences that will
follow if the counsel is left unheeded (Kaiser and Silva, 102).

Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!” Wait for the LORD, and he will avenge you. —Prov. 20:22

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Teraphim, 142
Testament, see Covenant Textual criticism, 78
Theism, 171
Theodicy, 171
Theodore of Mopsuestia, 70
Theology, 171
Theophany, 171–172
Torah, 40
Tosefta, 51
Totality transfer, 40
Tradition, 40
Traditional interpretation, 88
Transcendence, 172
Trans-Euphrates, 142–143
Transgression, 154
Tribulation, see Jacob’s trouble, Great
Tribulation Trichotomy, 172
Type, 89
Types of Biblical Criticism, 71–78
Typological interpretation, 89
Typology, 89

Unity of meaning, 40
Unity of Scripture, 41
Unpardonable sin, 154–155
Urim and Thummin, 143
Usus loquendi, 41

Variant reading, 143
Variant, 78
Verbal parallel, 41
Vicarious, 155
Victorines, 57

Wisdom literature, 109
Word loading, 42

Yahweh Yireh, 155

Zealots, 143
Zeugma, 122
Zion, 143–144
Zwingli, Huldrych, 70

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Additional Terms

As in the development of any book of this nature, there may be terms that you feel should have been
included. If you feel that there is a term you would like to see included in the next edition of this
Dictionary of Hermeneutics, write the term(s) on a 3 x 5 card and mail it with your name and
address to:

Dictionary of Hermeneutics
Gospel Publishing House
1445 N. Boonville Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65802

Or send an e-mail to us with your suggested term(s).

[email protected]

The names of anyone whose suggestions this author uses in future editions of Dictionary of
Hermeneutics will be added to the list of acknowledgements.

mailto:[email protected]

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