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The "Credentials" Of Faith: The Miracles Controversy In New England

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Chapter Summary

The Harvard-Göttingen men had painfully experienced how biblical critics rendered the historical reliability of the biblical narratives uncertain and adduced data questioning the uniqueness of the life of Jesus accounts. Miracles, Ripley argued, were not sufficient to authenticate divine authority, nor where they needed to confirm the truth of a religion of the heart. Ripley did not question or examine whether Christ had walked on the water, fed the five thousand, or healed the sick. This was not to argue that Jesus' miracles were the outcome of mythical embellishment, nor to say that history was to be abandoned; rather, Ripley maintained that one had to accept faith on its own spiritual face without the external corroborations historical apologetics had accumulated. In New England, Strauss's myth criticism entered the miracles controversy at a point in the debate when the issue of historical verification had been suppressed by the "new school's" arguments.

Keywords: Christianity; Jesus' miracles; miracles controversy; New England; religion; Strauss's myth criticism



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