History of Interpretation: Eight Lectures Preached Before the University of Oxford in the Year MDCCCLXXXV on the Foundation of the Late Rev. John Bampton

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Macmillan, 1886 - Bible - 553 pages

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This magisterial work has for many years been one of the best surveys of the history of biblical interpretation. To say, however, that Farrar presents the material in a completely fair and straight-forward manner is somewhat of a stretch. It is obvious to the casual reader that the heroes of the massive tome are the likes of Luther, Calvin, etc., while early (primarily the Alexandrian) and medieval exegesis is severely chided by Farrar. Much worse is his treatment of medieval rabbinic/Jewish exegesis where his disdain for their employed approaches to interpretation is hardly concealable. Farrar's work is, nonetheless, a classic. Farrar is no boring writer (speaker), being both eloquent and astute. The enduring popularity and use of this work is only a testament to its enduring value. While updated works like Reventlow's work, or even the enormous two-volume work edited by M. Saebo, will be more recent and scholarly, all of these works still are indebted to this work by Farrar. 

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You can always count on F.W. Farrar to present his chosen material in a completely fair way, and this book which covers the entire history of Christian exegesis is a prime example. The finest survey of this sort of history that I've ever read. Milton Terry has a decent one in "Biblical Hermeneutics," but doesn't attempt to approach the scope and scrutiny of Farrar's work here. Fred's spirit of charity and hopefulness makes the reading of his works edifying, completely apart from whatever subjects he is addressing. A "must read" for all students of the Bible or history. 


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Page 136 - More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned; and in keeping of them there is great reward.
Page xiii - Whose voice then shook the earth : but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.
Page xxxviii - Term, a Lecturer be yearly chosen by the Heads of Colleges only, and by no others, in the room adjoining to the PrintingHouse, between the hours of ten in the morning and two in the afternoon, to preach eight Divinity Lecture Sermons, the year following, at St.
Page xli - Ye search the scriptures, because ye think that in them ye have eternal life ; and these are they which bear witness of me ; and ye will not come to me, that ye may have life.
Page 286 - For while the tired waves, vainly breaking, Seem here no painful inch to gain, Far back, through creeks and inlets making, Comes silent, flooding in, the main. And not by eastern windows only, When daylight comes, comes in the light; In front, the sun climbs slow, how slowly, But westward, look, the land is bright.
Page xxxvii - I give and bequeath my Lands and Estates to the " Chancellor, Masters, and Scholars of the University of " Oxford for ever, to have and to hold all and singular " the said Lands or Estates upon trust, and to the intents " and purposes hereinafter mentioned ; that is to say, I "will and appoint...
Page 30 - In law, what plea so tainted and corrupt, But, being season'd with a gracious voice, Obscures the show of evil? In religion, What damned error, but some sober brow Will bless it, and approve it with a text, Hiding the grossness with fair ornament?
Page 289 - ... to edify the meanest Christian, who desires to walk in the spirit, and not in the letter of human trust, for all the number of voices that can be there made; no, though Harry the Seventh himself there, with all his liege tombs about him, should lend them voices from the dead to swell their number.
Page 255 - The old order changeth, yielding place to new, And God fulfils Himself in many ways, Lest one good custom should corrupt the world.

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