Friday, June 26, 2009

Exegetical Fallacies by D. A. Carson (finished)

I just finished Exegetical Fallacies by D. A. Carson.

In the Introduction, Carson takes time to explain why studying Exegetical Fallacies are important.  "Ignorance may be bliss, but it is not a virtue."  He also writes about the potential dangers of focusing on something negative.  "...the persistent negativism is spiritually perilous.  The person who makes it his life's ambition to discover all the things that are wrong--whether wrong with life, or wrong with some part of it, such as exegesis--is exposing himself to spiritual destruction."  

The book is broken into five main chapters: (1) Word-Study Fallacies, (2) Grammatical Fallacies, (3) Logical Fallacies, (4) Presuppositional and Historical Fallacies, and (5) Concluding Reflections.  (NOTE: Chapter 1 (word-study fallacies) and 3 (logical fallacies) are both long whereas the others are relatively short).

When I write about weaknesses, it is in no way about D. A. Carson's writing but rather about how a reader such as myself understands this book.

There was a lot of greek in the book.  I do not understand greek.  I felt like I was missing a lot of the arguments (especially in chapter one) because of my lack of understanding greek.

The book is written technically and academically.  For example, here is a typical sentence in the book: "After all, he argues, every apodosis is future (ou me) subjunctive, with a present indicative, a future indicative, an aorist subjunctive with (hina) or some other form."  I did not understand completely this sentence and the like.

At the end of this book I felt a couple things: (1) D. A. Carson is very smart and I am glad that he is a Christian helping to increase and strengthen God's kingdom,  (2) My desire to read Scripture more critically was cultivated, (3) There is a lot of bad exegesis out there and I should listen to sermons and read books, regardless of who is speaking and who is writing, critically, and finally, (4) my desire to read more theology (as I read more scripture) was cultivated.

The feelings that this book cultivated in me was worth the time and effort it took to read, even if I didn't understand everything in the book.  In fact, my not-understanding everything was encouraging to me because it showed me how little I actually know and how much more there is to know and study.

Overall, I do recommend this book.  It is written with a seminary student in mind with a certain amount of training in linguistics so the writing is technical and academic (and, for me, hard to understand).  I felt inspired by the book to read more Bible and theology myself and to read books and listen to sermons more critically; this is a very good thing.  Good times.

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