Kevin Vanhoozer

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Kevin Vanhoozer
Born 1957
Residence United States
Theological work
Era Contemporary
Tradition or movement Presbyterian, Reformed
Main interests Hermeneutics and theological interpretation of Scripture, Christian doctrine, Reformed theology, theology of culture

Kevin J. Vanhoozer (born 1957) is an American theologian and current Research Professor of Systematic Theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS) in Deerfield, Illinois. Much of Vanhoozer's work focuses on systematic theology, hermeneutics, and postmodernism.


Vanhoozer received his M. Div. from Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia and a Ph.D. from Cambridge University where he studied under Nicholas Lash. His inter-disciplinary dissertation was titled Biblical Narrative in the Philosophy of Paul Ricoeur: A Study in Hermeneutics and Theology and was published in 1990 (reprint 2007) by Cambridge University Press (ISBN 0-521-04390-5).

He joined the faculty of TEDS in 1986, but during two periods since has taught elsewhere. From 1990 to 1998, he was Senior Lecturer at New College, University of Edinburgh; from 2009 to 2012, he was Blanchard Professor of Theology at Wheaton College.[1][2][3]

He and his wife Sylvie have two daughters.[4]


Vanhoozer has written several notable books, including The Drama of Doctrine: A Canonical-Linguistic Approach to Christian Theology,[1] which won the Christianity Today 2006 Book Award for best book in theology, and Faith Speaking Understanding: Performing the Drama of Doctrine,[1] which won the Christianity Today 2015 Book Award for best book in theology. He has edited several others, including the Gold Medallion Book Award winner Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of the Bible,[5] The Cambridge Companion to Postmodern Theology, and, with Charles A. Anderson and Michael J. Sleasman, Everyday Theology: How to Read Cultural Texts and Interpret Trends.

In his work Is There a Meaning in this Text?, Vanhoozer gives an in depth response to the challenges of Deconstructionism to biblical hermeneutics. Primarily, he engages the thinking of Jacques Derrida, but Stanley Fish and Richard Rorty also receive attention. Vanhoozer develops a theory of communicative action which relies strongly on the speech-act theory of J. L. Austin and in which a biblical text is seen as a communicative act involving "locutions" (the text itself), "illocutions" (the stance of the author to the locution, e.g. questioning, asserting, promising, etc.) and "perlocutions" (the goals that the author hopes to accomplish through the text).

Among the conclusions that Vanhoozer draws from viewing a text as a communicative act are the involvement of the author, text, and reader in the process of interpretation. The intended meaning of the author can be discerned to a certain degree from the text. The text (langue and parole) is not an arbitrary "playground" but part of a covenantal relationship between all people. As a result the intention of the author can be adequately decoded. Another consequence is that the reader/interpreter has a responsibility to honor the intentions of the author and try to interpret the text in a way which re-creates the author's intended meaning. This responsibility is coupled with a freedom to determine the significance in the context of the interpreter's community.


  • Theology and the Mirror of Scripture: A Mere Evangelical Account. (IVP Academic, 2015). With Daniel Treier.
  • The Pastor as Public Theologian: Reclaiming a Lost Vision. (Brazos, 2015). With Owen Strachan.
  • Faith Speaking Understanding: Performing the Drama of Doctrine. Westminster John Knox, 2014.
  • Remythologizing Theology: Divine Action, Passion, and Authorship. Cambridge University Press, 2010.
  • The Drama of Doctrine: A Canonical-linguistic Approach to Christian Theology. Westminster John Knox, 2005.
  • First Theology: God, Scripture & Hermeneutics. IVP, 2002.
  • Is There a Meaning in this Text? The Bible, the Reader, and the Morality of Literary Knowledge. Zondervan, 1998.
  • Biblical Narrative in the Philosophy of Paul Ricoeur. Cambridge, 1990; reprint, 2007.

Edited works[edit]

  • Co-editor, Reconsidering the Relationship between Biblical Theology and Systematic Theology in the New Testament. Mohr Siebeck, 2014.
  • Consulting editor, New Dictionary of Theology. Revised, IVP.
  • Everyday Theology: How to Read Cultural Texts and Interpret Trends. Baker, 2007.
  • With Martin Warner, Transcending Boundaries in Philosophy and Theology: Reason, Meaning and Experience. Ashgate, 2007.
  • Et al., Hermeneutics at the Crossroads. Indiana University Press, 2006.
  • Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of the Bible. Baker, 2005.
  • Cambridge Companion to Postmodern Theology. Cambridge, 2003.
  • Nothing Greater, Nothing Better: Theological Essays on the Love of God. Eerdmans, 2001.
  • The Trinity in a Pluralistic Age: Theological Essays on Culture and Religion. Eerdmans, 1996.


  1. ^ a b c ""Experience the Drama"". Retrieved 2013-07-13. 
  2. ^ Wheaton Faculty website[dead link]
  3. ^ Donato, Chris. "Welcome Back, Vanhoozer". TEDS News & Events Page. Trinity International University. Retrieved 28 November 2011. 
  4. ^ TEDS CC5060 Lecture, Deerfield, IL 09/12/2007
  5. ^ 2006 Gold Medallion Book Awards Winners - Bible Reference & Study category[dead link]

External links[edit]

Online writings[edit]


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