Kevin J. Vanhoozer (b. 1957) is the Blanchard Professor of Theology at Wheaton College Graduate School. He was previously Research Professor of Systematic Theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS) where he taught from 1998-2009. From 1990-1998 he was Senior Lecturer in Theology and Religious Studies at New College, University of Edinburgh and previously taught at TEDS from 1986-1990. Vanhoozer received a B.A. from Westmont College, an M.Div from Westminster Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. from Cambridge University, England having studied under Nicholas Lash.


Vanhoozer's The Drama of Doctrine was named best book in theology in the 2006 Christianity Today Book Awards. In this book, Vanhoozer proposes a way of doing theology that corresponds to its subject matter: doctrine is direction for the fitting participation of the individual and the church in the ongoing "theodrama," the reconciling action of the triune God. Theology is faith seeking understanding of the theodrama, but understanding demands not only that we comprehend but that we also perform the Scriptures, the script that forms and transforms the people of God.

In his work Is There a Meaning in this Text? the Bible, the Reader, and the Morality of Literary Knowledge, Vanhoozer gives an in depth response to the challenges of Deconstruction to biblical hermeneutics. Primarily, he engages the thinking of Derrida, but Fish and Rorty also receive much attention. In doing so he lays out his own hermeneutical proposal which applies not only to special biblical hermeneutics but general hermeneutics as well. Vanhoozer develops a theory of communicative action which, among other concepts, that relies strongly on the speech-act theory of Austin. A biblical text is a communicative act which involve locutions (the text itself), illocutions (the stance of the author to the locution, i.e. 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. A third 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.


Constructive works

  • Remythologizing Theology: Divine Action, Passion, and Authorship. Cambridge University Press, 2010.
  • Pictures at a Biblical Exhibition: Theological Scenes of the Church’s Worship, Witness, and Wisdom. IVP, 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; 10th anniversary edition, 2009.
  • Biblical Narrative in the Philosophy of Paul Ricoeur. Cambridge, 1990; reprint, 2007.

Edited works

  • Theological Interpretation of the New Testament: A Book-by-Book Survey. Baker Academic, 2008.
  • Theological Interpretation of the Old Testament: A Book-by-Book Survey. Baker Academic, 2008.
  • Everyday Theology: How to Read Cultural Texts and Influence Trends. Baker, 2007.
  • Edited 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.
  • Edited with Andrew Kirk, To Stake a Claim: Mission and the Western Crisis of Knowledge. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 1999.
  • The Trinity in a Pluralistic Age: Theological Essays on Culture and Religion. Eerdmans, 1996.

External links

Online writings

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