A brief review of Henry Wansbrough, The Use and Abuse of the Bible: A Brief History of Biblical Interpretation
This is a very helpful and short (179 pages) overview of the whole history of interpretation and misinterpretation. Many will know Gerald Bray’s magisterial Biblical Interpretation Past and Present, which remains a much stronger and more reliable source, but this primer from a Benedictine Monk and former Chairman of Oxford’s Theology Faculty is vivid and well-written, even if he does think the Bible is sometimes historically inaccurate (and Paul employs “doubtful” arguments).
Wansbrough shows how theologians such as Aquinas have been sadly neglected as exegetes of Scripture, and digs deep to uncover the less than savoury motives of some interpreters throughout history. Further reading is helpfully indicated at the end of each chapter.
This review first appeared in Churchman 128/2 (2014).