Well, I’m finally back from a week on the east coast. That means things will start to return to normal (although I find myself right in the middle of the annual whirlwind of preparing for the annual scholarly meetings I attend – ETS and SBL). I hope to resume looking at resources for biblical studies at some point this week.
But, to get back in the blogging saddle a bit quicker, here is a noteworthy link from Larry Hurtado’s blog on the 50th anniversary of James Barr’s critically important book Semantics of Biblical Language. Anyone who is interested in biblical studies should read it (or perhaps the slightly more digestible Biblical Words and Their Meaning, by Moises Silva). The books both deal with the meaning of words (semantics) as that relates to Bible study and research. Amateur Bible study is frequently riddled with errors in this area (e.g., presuming the meaning of a word is revealed by its constituent parts — the etymological fallacy), but as these books show, scholars are not immune to the same problem. Barr’s book pulled no punches in that regard, and created a firestorm in the academic biblical studies community when it was published. It has stood the test of time. Silva’s book made Barr’s work more accessible to a broader audience.
Also, Donald A. Carson’s “Exegetical Fallacies” is recommendable where he discusses this issue besides other kinds of fallacies: