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Biblical Hermeneutics And The Sciences, 1700–1900: An Overview

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Chapter Summary

The Bible is a complex and often difficult collection of books. Attitudes to it depend principally on individual religious persuasion, and more rarely, on assessment of its literary merit or theological meaning. Among modern, critical readers of the Bible, theologians writing the history of their discipline have been surprisingly reluctant to engage in the kind of reconstruction necessary to understand the real differences between their own and early modern attitudes to the Bible. The panic with which the pioneers of modern inerrantist biblical criticism reacted to the changing hermeneutics of both Scripture and science in the late nineteenth century revealed much about their own marginal status in British intellectual life. Like all inheritances, that of the relationship between biblical hermeneutics and the sciences has produced varied offspring whose future paths of development could not be predicted in advance.

Keywords: biblical hermeneutics; British philosophy; modern science; modern sciences; Scripture



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