Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Book Review: Interpreting Apocalyptic Literature: An Exegetical Handbook by Richard A. Taylor

Book Review: Interpreting Apocalyptic Literature: An Exegetical Handbook

by Richard A. Taylor

The book is part of the “Handbook for Old Testament Exegesis” series published by Kregel. I have elsewhere given my take on a couple others from the series. At first glance I’d venture to say that Richard Taylor takes on the most difficult hermeneutical handbook of the whole series, dealing with the not-so-easily-definable genre of apocalyptic literature.
            The section on comprehending figurative language was useful as it cited interesting examples. The bibliographies that appear interspersed throughout the book are also welcome additions and point to further research sources.
            The grandiose statements of any author attempting to teach something usually sound so good that they may just be too good to be true; that’s when one appreciates an author that is willing to test his own principles and show others plainly what he does with a text and how he goes about the exegetical task. In short, how he puts into practice his own principles. Reading his results we can assess whether he promised more than he could deliver and whether or not his exegetical advice works in the way one expects it to. Of course, the author gets to choose his exemplars, and there’s nothing the reader can do about it. It could be that the author is just choosing a passage he is most familiar with. Nevertheless, if we can show me through his process that his methodology renders sound exegetical conclusions, then, I just might be willing to bite.
            I chose to evaluate Taylor’s work on the basis of his exegetical treatment of Joel 2:28–34. I wanted to see how well he applies his own advice, and what sorts of results he gets from it. No unexpected insights there, the text and its interpretation were pretty much standard. Perhaps the author should have chosen a more complicated pericope in order to demonstrate what his methodology can accomplish.
            The book is useful, and no one should venture to interpret apocalyptic literature without its assistance.

3/5 Stars

Disclosure: The book was received for free from Kregel Academic & Ministry review program. The program does not require a positive review, only a truthful one.