Book Review: Hermeneutics as Apprenticeship

How the Bible Shapes Our Interpretive Habits and Practices
David I. Starling,
Baker Academic, 2016

The Reformation claim that Scripture is perspicuous and is its own interpreter has come under serious criticism in the light of the plurality of evangelical interpretations. Starling provides a helpful summary of recent debates. He adds to the traditional images of the hermeneutical circle and spiral by suggesting a third metaphor of the snowball.

But his own preferred image is that of ‘apprenticeship’ by which he commends the inner-biblical practices of the writers of Scripture as a model for the contemporary interpreter. Their stance and method should be normative for us. As their apprentices in the reading of Scripture, we learn how to understand Christ in the light of Scripture, and how to understand Scripture (and all things) in the light of Christ.

Starling then illustrates such apprenticeship by examining the internal hermeneutic revealed in fourteen stimulating case studies from Deuteronomy to Revelation. In the process, he demonstrates that the claim that 'Scripture interprets Scripture' must include an awareness of the intertextual relationships between the biblical books and the interpretive work of the biblical authors themselves.

Bishop Tony Nichols, WA