Just received my own copies of this hot-off-the-press-and-cheap-as-chips book…
The introduction begins:
The twenty-first century is a world in which religious conviction is sometimes considered a matter of private opinion, and sometimes considered a most public matter of life and death. Religious texts lead some to war, and others to peace. In such an environment, reflection on interpretation of religious texts is a crucially pressing issue. The Christian Bible, as the most published religious book in history, demands particular attention.
Beyond this, the Bible itself provocatively calls for the engagement of serious listeners. The New Testament book of Hebrews claims that ‘in these last days, God has spoken by a son.’ Millions across the centuries have taken this claim seriously, and millions continue to today.
Yet these millions come from a variety of settings, and make use of the Bible in a variety of ways. They find in the Bible a plurality of voices, and reach a plurality of interpretations. Even within the Bible itself, one can discern a variety of interpretative approaches and results. If one were to ask the various writers of the New Testament what Psalm 8 means, or who is identified by the Servant of Isaiah, one would hear a variety of answers; not necessarily dissonant answers, but plural in number.
Some parts of the Bible, by their very genre, invite a plurality of interpretations (such as poetry or apocalyptic), while some parts resist it. But even the most open of texts cannot be infinitely open, or they would have no reason to exist. So how can readers of the Bible appropriately acknowledge and do justice to plurality, while being responsible as readers? The present book exists as a focused attempt to address this question. In short, it advocates a hermeneutically informed awareness of parameters within which responsibly productive readings will occur….