- online texts on Biblical hermeneutics, and more

Biblical Hermeneutics,
Interpretation, & Authority of Scripture

Holger Szesnat

The Virtual Bookshelf for Biblical Hermeneutics

Last updated: August 12, 2006

This page lists important books relating to Biblical hermeneutics. They are all cross-linked to amazon and abebooks websites, so should you wish to purchase any of these online, please consider using this link to do so. It will not cost you anything, but I will get a small percentage (about 4-5%, I think) from the booksellers which I hope will pay something towards the cost of keeping this site on the web. Either go through the search boxes below, or click on the book-specific link further down.

I have kept the list fairly short (about 30 items) and in simple alphabetical order. Of course, all these books are recommended, but those that I think are particularly useful sport this tag: recommended

[Update: August 13, 2006]: I am in the process of changing this page: rather than having one long list, I am creating a number of shorter pages. The following are available so far:

Clicking on one of the commercial links below should open a new browser window.

Book Link to Shop Comment
Adam, A K M (ed) 2001. Postmodern Interpretations of the Bible: A Reader. St. Louis: Chalice Press. A collection of a wide variety of postmodern writings on Biblical texts, from postcolonial to Bhabian, to post-Holocaust, to ... pretty much everything that goes under the label 'postmodern'. You can see a few pages at (use the link in the middle column).
Bible and Culture Collective 1995. The Postmodern Bible. New Haven: Yale University Press. This book quickly emerged as a 'classic' theoretical elaboration on the postmodern hermeneutics theme. Short on examples on how this works with scripture, though.
Breck, J 2001. Scripture in Tradition: The Bible and Its Interpretation in the Orthodox Church. Crestwood: St Vladimir's Seminary Press. A good example of an Eastern Orthodox perspective on Biblical hermeneutics.
Eagleton, T 1996. Literary Theory: An Introduction. 2nd ed. Oxford: Blackwell. A well-written introduction to modern literary theory, an aspect of hermeneutics that is now indispensible. Written from a mild neo-Marxist position, which may put off some - but of course a Christian socialist like me appreciates him even more for that! recommended
Eco, U 1979. The Role of the Reader: Explorations in the Semiotics of Texts. (Advances in Semiotics.) Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Apart from writing great novels like The Name of the Rose and Foucault's Pendulum, Eco is also a well-known semiotician. This is a classic work on literary theory, where he explores roles and limitations of the reader. Not always easy reading, but worth persisting with.
Guest, D 2005. When Deborah Met Jael: Lesbian Biblical Hermeneutics. London: SCM. An interesting attempt to develop a lesbian hermeneutics. The theoretical discussion in the first chapter might be a bit tough if you haven't yet read the basics in feminist theory / theology, but it's good to persevere.
Hamilton, P 2003. Historicism. 2nd. ed. (New Critical Idiom.) London: Routledge. A helfpul, short introduction to the rise and fall (and resurrection?) of historicism in Western philosophy. Important to understand this in relation to the development of historical-critical methodology in Biblical interpretation. Try some pages at google books:
Jobling, D, T Pippin & R Schleifer (eds) 2001. The Postmodern Bible Reader. Oxford: Blackwell. A useful companion to the Postmodern Bible by the Bible and Culture Collective (1995). Loads of important essays. Good introductions to several key areas of research. Try some pages at google books:
Schüssler Fiorenza, E 1995. Bread Not Stone: The Challenge of Feminist Biblical Interpretation, witha new afterword. 10th anniversary edition. Boston: Beacon Press. Getting on a bit now, but still an excellent and important work: a collection of essays on feminist hermeneutics. recommended
Sugirtharajah, R S (ed) 1995. Voices from the Margin: Interpreting the Bible in the Third World. Rev. ed. Maryknoll: Orbis. Very good collection of marginalised readings from the 'third world'. If you have nothing else in this regard, get this book. recommended N.B.: Orbis is apparently going to publish an expanded 3rd edition this year (2006).
Sugirtharajah, R S 2002. Postcolonial Criticism and Biblical Interpretation. Oxford: Oxford University Press. There are a number of works by him on this theme, but this strikes me as a good overview. Book review at pdf/ 3050_3315.pdf
West, G O 1995. Biblical Hermeneutics of Liberation: Modes of Reading the Bible in the South African Context. Rev. ed. (The Bible & Liberation Series.) Pietermaritzburg: Cluster Publications; Maryknoll: Orbis Books. An excellent analysis of the hermeneutics of South African liberation theologies in the context of the struggle against apartheid. Grew out of a dissertation; not always easy to read in the early chapters. Worth persevering though. recommended
Zimmerman, J A 1999. Liturgy and Hermeneutics. Collegeville: Liturgical Press. A very useful little study: offers an introduction to hermeneutics, and then proceeds to tease out some implications for liturgy. Get a taste at

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