Description of author: Milton Spenser Terry (1840-1914) was a clergyman in the Methodist Episcopal church. In 1884 he was elected to the chair of Hebrew and Old Testament exegesis in Garrett Biblical Institution in Evanston, IL.
Comments: This is the classic work on literal, grammatical-historical interpretation of the Bible. The book is divided into three sections: (1) Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutics – this section includes chapters on the Biblical languages, inspiration, and textual criticism; (2) Principles of Biblical Hermeneutics – this is the main part of the book taking up about 450 pages; and (3) History of Biblical Interpretation – in this section Terry reviews the important exegetes of Jewish and Christian tradition. On the whole this is an excellent book and one that should be on the shelf of every serious exegete. Part of the value of this work is the detail of his analyis of individual passages of Scripture. I especially appreciated his chapter on the Parables (Part 2, chapter 13). Even in those places where I profoundly disagree with his conclusions, his argumentation has increased my understanding of the issues invloved. He, unfortunately, whole-heartedly, even dogmatically, embraces preterism (the events of Matthew 24 and most of the book of Revelation took place in A.D. 70) (Part 2, chapter 24 & 26). Surpisingly, he also denies a universal flood and a universal creation (542-52). In spite of these, what I would consider, odd (and wrong) conclusions, I found the book to be very informative and clear. Obviously the book does not deal with the developments that have taken place in hermeneutics in the past century. Indeed there have been many recent developments including in-depth discussions on genre, chiasm in the structure of the Old Testament, and the introduction of post-modernism into the field of hermeneutics.