S620 Messianic Jewish Hermeneutics

Instructor:  Dr. Richard Harvey
Location: Populi (https://mjti.populiweb.com)
Dates: October 15 – December 17, 2023

This course is a study of basic hermeneutics (defined as the art and science of the interpretation of the Scriptures) from a uniquely Messianic Jewish perspective. The course provides a concise introduction to everything from the definition of hermeneutics and exegesis to the importance of worldview, critical thinking, nomenclature usage, and sound principles of interpretation. The primacy of place is given to the primary sources from the Tanakh to the Talmudic Literature. Because all Jewish learning is for living, this course upholds the assertion that the task of Messianic Jewish hermeneutics is to interpret sacred Scripture in ways that nurture a God and Messiah-centered life.

This is a required course for Rabbinic Studies students and an elective for Messianic Jewish Studies students.

Messianic Jewish faith is grounded in God’s Word, consisting of the Tanakh and the Brit Hadashah. These texts are foundational to and the final authority for Messianic Jewish faith. Therefore, theological inquiry, practical theology, and how ministry is carried requires competency in Biblical interpretation as understood in both Jewish, Christian and Messianic Jewish traditions. Those who lead and minister within the Messianic Jewish community should be skilled in interpreting and communicating God’s Word to God’s people within a Messianic Jewish context. Messianic teachers should be familiar with the rich heritage of Jewish Biblical interpretation as it is the community’s historical heritage. Moreover, to remain relevant to and engage with the wider Jewish community, Bible teachers should understand the many ways Jewish scholars interpret and teach from the Scriptures today.


This is an online course. The student must have a computer and high-speed internet access.


  1. Exegete any passage of Scripture applying and integrating a variety of hermeneutical approaches and techniques from both Jewish and Christian traditions of interpretation.
  2. Identify and describe the four main types of hermeneutics (literal, moral, allegorical and analogical) and how these evolved in Judaism and Christianity.
  3. Recognize, understand and access the strength and weaknesses of contemporary methods of Bible interpretation such as textual, source, redaction, form, literary, feminine or narrative criticism.
  4. Identify and explain the historical-grammatical method of Biblical interpretation.
  5. Explain the critical issues surrounding the use of the Tanakh in the Apostolic Writings.
  6. Use the hermeneutical tools learned in the class for their personal studies and in their teaching/preaching ministry.

The course will be conducted by in-person participation on Zoom, asynchronous discussions and written tests and assignments. The Zoom sessions will be recorded.

Students are required to:

  1. Attend the weekly Zoom sessions or watch the recordings
  2. Participate in the online discussions
  3. Do the required readings and submit reports on the readings
  4. Submit the assignments as indicated below


  • Boxall, Ian and Gregory Bradley C. The New Cambridge Companion to Biblical Interpretation. Cambridge University Press, 2023.
  • Klein, William W., Craig L. Blomberg, and Robert L. Hubbard. Introduction to Biblical Interpretation. 3rd ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Academic, 2017.
  • Zetterholm, Karin Hedner. Jewish Interpretation of the Bible: Ancient and Contemporary. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2012.


  • Alter, Robert. The Art of Biblical Narrative. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Basic Books, 2011.
    ———. The Art of Biblical Poetry. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Basic Books, 2011.
  • Bronner, Stephen Eric. Critical Theory: A Very Short Introduction. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2017.
  • Carson, D.A. Exegetical Fallacies. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids, MI.: Baker Academic, 1996.
  • Dyer, Bryan R. The Bible and Social Justice: Old Testament and New Testament Foundations for the Church’s Urgent Call. Edited by Cynthia Long Westfall. Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications, 2016.
  • Gottwald, Norman K. Social Justice and the Hebrew Bible Volume One. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2016.
  • Gundry, Stanley N., Walter C. Kaiser Jr., Darrell L. Bock, and Peter E. Enns. Three Views on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament. Edited by Kenneth Berding and Jonathan Lunde. 34 vols. Counterpoints: Bible and Theology. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Academic, 2008.
  • Hernando, James. Dictionary of Hermeneutics. 2nd ed. Springfield, MO: Gospel Publishing House, 2005.
  • Horrell, David G. The Bible and the Environment: Towards a Critical Ecological Biblical Theology. New York, NY: Routledge, 2014.
  • Kaiser, W., and M. Silva. Introduction to Hermeneutics: The Search for Meaning. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids, MI.: Zondervan, 2007.
  • Klein, William W., Craig L. Blomberg, and Robert L. Hubbard. Introduction to Biblical Interpretation. 3rd ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Academic, 2017.
  • Levine, Amy-Jill, and Marc Zvi Brettler, eds. The Jewish Annotated New Testament. 2nd edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017.
  • McKim, Donald K. A Guide to Contemporary Hermeneutics: Major Trends in Biblical Interpretation. Reprint. Eugene, Or: Wipf & Stock Publishers, 1999.
  • Neusner, Jacob. Judaism and the Interpretation of Scripture: Introduction to the Rabbinic Midrash by Jacob Neusner. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2004.
  • Newman, Dianna. Feminist Criticism: What Is Biblical Feminism? Independently published, 2019.
  • Plaskow, Judith. Standing Again at Sinai: Judaism from a Feminist Perspective. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Harper Collins, 1990.
  • Richards, E. Randolph, and Brandon J. O’Brien. Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes: Removing Cultural Blinders to Better Understand the Bible. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Books, 2012.
  • Scholz, Susanne. Introducing the Women’s Hebrew Bible: Feminism, Gender Justice, and the Study of the Old Testament. 2nd ed. New York, NY: T & T Clark, 2017.
  • Schottroff, Luise, and Marie-Theres Wacker, eds. Feminist Biblical Interpretation: A Compendium of Critical Commentary on the Books of the Bible and Related Literature. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2012.
  • Thomas, Richard F. Why Dylan Matters. New York, Harper Collins, 2018.
  • Vanhoozer, Kevin J., Craig G. Bartholomew, Daniel J. Treier, and N. T. Wright, eds. Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2005.
  • Virkler, Henry A., and Karelynne Ayayo. Hermeneutics. 2nd ed. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2007.
  • Walton, John. The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2000.
  • Wasserman, Tommy, and Peter J. Gurry. A New Approach to Textual Criticism: An Introduction to the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method. Atlanta, GA: SBL Press, 2017.


  1. Weekly reports/worksheets due by following week
  2. Final Assignment – 15 December 2023



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