Literalism, Fundamentalism, and Inerrancy: The Evangelical Reaction to the Enlightenment

In the last post, we saw how Biblical scholars of the Enlightenment applied its faith in reason and objective study, and its emerging disciplines of history, archaeology, linguistics and the like, to create a series of approaches to the Bible known generally as ‘historical criticism.’ These approaches shared a belief that the the books of … Continue reading Literalism, Fundamentalism, and Inerrancy: The Evangelical Reaction to the Enlightenment

Historical Criticism: Reading the Bible in the Enlightenment

The Reformation was an unprecedented crisis in the Western Christian world — a crisis in religion, culture, and politics, certainly, but also a crisis of authority. Rome continued to insist that holy tradition was authoritative, but used that to justify some practices many found unjust and unjustifiable. The Protestants insisted that the Bible was authoritative, … Continue reading Historical Criticism: Reading the Bible in the Enlightenment

Ad Fontes and Sola Scriptura: Reading the Bible in the Reformation

In the previous post in this series on the history of biblical interpretation, we saw how the Middle Ages were a period of stability in hermeneutics, with the Church more or less happy to interpret the Scriptures as they had traditionally been interpreted and within the broader context of the Church’s faith and worship. The … Continue reading Ad Fontes and Sola Scriptura: Reading the Bible in the Reformation

‘The Faith Once Delivered to the Saints’: Tradition and Scripture from the Medieval World to Today

By the time the Western Roman Empire fell at the end of the fifth century, ushering in the ‘Middle Ages’, the die had already been cast for roughly the next thousand years of biblical interpretation. This is not, as some have suggested, because the medieval world was devoid of intellectual creativity — the Eastern Empire … Continue reading ‘The Faith Once Delivered to the Saints’: Tradition and Scripture from the Medieval World to Today

Allegory and its Limits: Reading the Bible in Alexandria & Antioch

By the third century, Christianity was no longer a fledgling faith, but had come into its own as a spiritual and intellectual force in the Roman world. Across the Empire, despite periodic and localized persecutions, Christians could be found in most walks life, found among slaves and citizens, and from the army to the Imperial … Continue reading Allegory and its Limits: Reading the Bible in Alexandria & Antioch