Exegetical Fallacies

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Baker Book House, 1984 - Bible - 153 pages
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It was a good read, but I think there were some fundamental problems with Carson's work. At some points it seemed that he was unable to criticize his own methods that this book. It was also written ... Read full review

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The author of this book is D.A. Carson. Donald Arthur Carson is an evangelical New Testament scholar and is currently Research Professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. D.A. Carson has a B.S. in Chemistry from McGill University, a M.Div. from Central Baptist Seminary in Toronto, and a PhD in New Testament from Cambridge University.
D.A. Carson is a respected exegete and has written or edited more than forty-five books, including commentaries on books of the Bible, the Sermon on the Mount, the Gospel of John, and books on prayer and suffering. His book, The Gagging of God: Christianity Confronts Pluralism (1996), won the 1997 Evangelical Christian Publishers Association Gold Medallion Book Award in the category of "theology and doctrine.” He has also written books on free will and predestination from a generally compatibilist and Calvinist perspective. His book, Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church: Understanding a Movement and Its Implications (2005) is an important book in the Emerging church discussion.
“In short, this is an amateur’s collection of exegetical fallacies” (p.26). In this book, D.A. Carson seeks to reveal the numerous Exegetical Fallacies that occur from the pulpit. The author’s goal for this book is to help readers become better Biblical teachers by avoiding errors in their work.
The author focuses mainly from using examples from other conservative evangelicals to display how easy it is to make the mistake and to show how even those with the best of intentions still make these mistakes. The author even uses two examples where he has been found guilty of exegetical fallacies. In this book, the author stresses the importance of dealing with God’s thoughts and the obligation that we have to understanding and communicating them clearly.
This book is broken up into five chapters. Carson examines word-study fallacies in chapter one, grammatical fallacies in chapter two, logical fallacies in chapter three, presuppositional and historical fallacies in chapter four, before offering some concluding reflections in chapter five. In this review, we will look at each chapter individually.
The first chapter addresses the pitfalls of improper word studies. Numerous of these errors are especially tempting to those who “know enough to be dangerous,” namely, people who have little to no experience working within the original languages, but know how to use a concordance or a program like Bible Works or Logos. The author urges for additional study of linguistics to help in the protection from making numerous exegetical fallacies.
The heart of several of the mistakes that occur in this category is that semantics and meaning is more than the meaning of words. Therefore, we have to keep a word in context and not apply its universal meaning every time it appears in the text. The author makes this chapter very practical for its readers by not only providing examples in Greek and Hebrew, but also in English.
The second chapter is on grammatical fallacies. Much like in word-study fallacies, a poor understanding of Greek and Hebrew leads to several of the exegetical fallacies that are common from Biblical teachers. The author addresses the fallacies based upon grammatical units, morphology, and construction. This chapter was probably the least helpful given the lack of Greek that I have had. However, the author makes another call for additional knowledge of Biblical Hebrew and Greek to remedy these mistakes.
The next chapter is on logical fallacies. I found this chapter to be the most beneficial to me in my studies and teaching. The author tells us that this is one of the most common of mistakes and that we all will most likely make this mistake.
In this chapter, the author warns against purely emotional appeals, failure to recognize distinctions, and several other logical fallacies. The author presents fallacies caused by a lack or complete disregard of critical thought in the exegetical process


WordStudy Fallacies
Grammatical Fallacies 67

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About the author (1984)

D. A. Carson (PhD, University of Cambridge) is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, and is the author or editor of more than fifty books, including "The God Who Is There "and "How Long, O Lord?" He is one of the founders of The Gospel Coalition and an active guest lecturer in academic and church settings around the world.

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