The Return of Oral Hermeneutics

As Good Today as It Was for the Hebrew Bible and First-Century Christianity

By Tom Steffen, William Bjoraker

Foreword by R. Daniel Shaw

The Return of Oral Hermeneutics

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  • ISBN: 9781532684807
  • Pages: 392
  • Publication Date: 5/1/2020
  • Retail Price: $42.00
Web Price: $33.60
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  • ISBN: 9781532684807
  • Format: epub
  • Publication Date: 5/1/2020
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Web Price: $33.60
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The Return of Oral Hermeneutics

As Good Today as It Was for the Hebrew Bible and First-Century Christianity

By Tom Steffen, William Bjoraker

Foreword by R. Daniel Shaw

paperback-logo

PAPERBACK

  • ISBN: 9781532684807
  • Pages: 392
  • Publication Date: 5/1/2020
  • Retail Price: $42.00
Web Price: $33.60
BUY FROM AMAZON.COM
ebook-logo

eBOOK

  • ISBN: 9781532684807
  • Format: epub
  • Publication Date: 5/1/2020
  • Retail Price: $42.00
Web Price: $33.60
BUY FROM AMAZON.COM
Web Price: $33.60
BUY FROM AMAZON.COM
 

*All eBooks are non-returnable

** Click here to review our ePub FAQ and policies.

About-

Have Western exegetes turned an Eastern book into a Western one? Has our fondness for a fixed printed text capable of being analyzed with precision and exactitude blinded us to other hermeneutic possibilities? Does God require all people to be able to analyze grammar to interpret Scripture? Does God assume all people can interpret Scripture through oral means? The authors recognize the effects of centuries of literacy socialization that produced a blind spot in the Western Christian world—the neglect by most in the academies, agencies, and assemblies of the foundational and forceful role orality had on the biblical text and teaching. From the inspired spoken word of the prophets, including Jesus (pre-text), to the elite literate scribes who painstakingly hand-printed the sacred text, to post-text interpretation and teaching, the footprint of orality throughout the entire process is acutely visible to those having the oral-aural influenced eyes of the Mediterranean ancients. Could oral hermeneutics be the “mother of relational theology”?

Endorsements & Reviews-

“I welcome this provocative book. Steffen and Bjoraker rightly challenge Christians to embrace a more balanced approach to interpreting the Bible and applying it faithfully to daily life. They offer a lengthy defense of oral hermeneutics, of course, but they also show how to guide ordinary men and women to use oral hermeneutical processes to dig deeply into God’s word and open themselves to its transforming power.”

—Grant Lovejoy, International Mission Board, SBC



“Whatever you’ve thought about understanding the Bible, think again. Whatever you said in Bible studies, sermons, or wrote in commentaries, think again. Most of us were schooled only in textual ways to read Scripture. But that’s a serious neglect of how to listen to God’s voice, especially if we want to understand the Bible the way original hearers did. All of us need to enter into the world of oral culture, and Steffen and Bjoraker do a masterful job of showing the way. You owe it to yourself and to God to read this groundbreaking, hermeneutics-altering work.”

—D. Brent Sandy, co-author of The Lost World of Scripture: Ancient Literary Culture and Biblical Authority



“Steffen and Bjoraker reestablish the place and power of experiencing the word in community.”

—Regina Manley, author of StoryFire



“This book is a must-read for any Bible teacher who wants to understand how to effectively teach the Bible because all Bible teachers engage in oral communication of the Bible message at some point. Anyone interested in effective communication of the message of the Bible will benefit greatly from learning how oral hermeneutics works. This book is engaging enough for the scholar and yet accessible to the newcomer to this subject because of the ‘handles’ the authors include in the book. Readers can actually see how this works. I highly recommend this book to all Bible teachers and serious students of the Bible.”

—Bulus Y. Galadima, Cook School of Intercultural Studies, Biola University



“Steffen and Bjoraker bravely go where few have dared to venture.”

—Larry W. Caldwell, Sioux Falls Seminary



“Nearly erased or forgotten, oral hermeneutics is rediscovered, re-robed, and renewed. Steffen and Bjoraker are passionate academicians with the heart and hands of experienced practitioners. Elegantly written through storytelling, calmly articulated with a sense of urgency, compellingly illuminating the vivid oral voices of communities, the authors propose and provide ways and means forward. A must-read for anyone who is serious about the Bible and engagement in this century.”

—Samuel E. Chiang, The Wycliffe Seed Company



“Steffen and Bjoraker have written an important book that, used properly, can revitalize the use of the Bible—bringing passion, life, and interaction. The book sets out a program for interaction and transformation that can be very powerful in so many ways. It is important to note that an ancient Hebraic way of thinking (not always the Greek influenced Rabbinic way) was based on engaging truth on a personal level. This book shows how that way of approach to the Scriptures can be made available to the modern reader—Jew and Gentile. . . . I hope that many small groups embrace the methods provided here. It will revitalize all who desire to see the success of small groups as essential to the life of congregations.”

—Daniel Juster, Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations; Tikkun International



“Tom Steffen and William Bjoraker make a convincing case that interpreting the Bible orally has been neglected too long, both in the West and the majority world. They not only lay out the importance of oral hermeneutics, but they also illustrate it practically from their own extensive experience. I only wish I had encountered this book when I began teaching the Bible. Carefully researched and passionately argued, this book will help you see biblical narratives through a fresh and exciting lens.”

—Dean Flemming, MidAmerica Nazarene University



“May well lead to a counterrevolution in the way we read, witness, write, and share God’s story!”

—John Cheong, Asian Centre for Mission



“I have wanted a book like this to exist for a long time! Tom Steffen and William Bjoraker give us a glimpse into what it could look like to interpret the Bible in light of its oral background. Rather than merely identify the limitations to textual interpretation, they make a positive contribution. The book weaves together insights from multiple disciplines. It draws from their experience and the best of academic scholarship. The authors challenge readers to consider how ancient oral practices can inform contemporary ministry strategies. This book deserves a slow, careful read. I expect The Return of Oral Hermeneutics will have long-lasting influence among missionaries as it should for anyone who cares about biblical interpretation.”

—Jackson Wu, author of Reading Romans with Eastern Eyes



“Whatever we want to call walking through God’s great book with adults with limited formal education or any adult who prefers a non-reading experience, we must find a learning approach that works for this population—the majority of those on our planet. Like Steffen and Bjoraker, I have lived through the failure of textual hermeneutics with my own national partners. Something must change in the way Westerners attempt to do Bible study with the rest of the world—especially with our non-reading friends. I pray and believe this resource and others sure to follow will help along those lines.”

—Lynn Thigpen, IMB missionary, Southeast Asia



“The early church’s authoritative sacred text was less about physical and material texts as it was the stories they told from their respective memories of texts. Their disciples were hearers, for the most part, and not readers. Passed on through worship services were oral stories and reflections that contained memory of that which they held to be experientially sacred. In The Return of Oral Hermeneutics, professors Steffen and Bjoraker introduce readers to the church’s ancient word as it sounded in the ancient world, all the while speaking to, for, and about the essence and substance of (re)discovering storytelling—to help us recover the lost art for our own. I commend this book.”

—Jeffrey Seif, King’s University-Houston



“A long overdue contribution for training pastors and teachers.”

—Chuck Madinger, International Orality Network, Manila


Contributors-

Tom Steffen
William Bjoraker
R. Daniel Shaw

Bio(s)-

Tom Steffen is professor emeritus of intercultural studies at the Cook School of Intercultural Studies, Biola University. He specializes in church multiplication, orality, honor and shame, and business as mission. Some of his books include Passing the Baton, Reconnecting God’s Story to Ministry, Great Commission Companies (with Steve Rundle), Encountering Missionary Life and Work (with Lois McKinney Douglas), and The Facilitative Era.



Bill Bjoraker, PhD Fuller Theological Seminary, served in pastoral and teaching roles in Israel for eight years in the 1980s. He is ordained with the Assemblies of God and is on faculty at William Carey International University. He is a specialist in Jewish studies and has employed oral strategies and storytelling in teaching the Bible in academia and in Jewish ministry since 2008.

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