By Michael J. Lee
In response to traditional knowledge, through the past due 1800s, a twin of Bible as a supernatural and infallible textual content crumbled within the eyes of intellectuals lower than the attacks of secularizing forces. This booklet corrects the narrative via arguing that during the US, the line to skepticism had already been paved through the Scriptures' so much capable and ardent defenders.
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Extra info for The Erosion of Biblical Certainty: Battles over Authority and Interpretation in America
The chronology of Judah, the brother of Joseph and son of Jacob as recorded in Genesis, presented some particularly difficult challenges. The story appeared to relate an impossible scenario. If so, then the biblical account was inaccurate. In the biblical narrative, Judah’s oldest son, Er, married Tamar. Er died and then Onan, younger brother of Er, married Tamar in his brother’s place, but Onan also died. Rather than waiting for the youngest brother Shelah to come of age, Tamar seduced her father-in-law Judah and bore him Pharez and Zara.
He presumed neither that skeptics believed that God revealed himself in the Bible nor that the Holy Spirit enlightened their minds. Instead, departing from the traditional Puritan approach, Mather made his appeal on the grounds of reason. 17 Like Locke (or even Le Clerc), he attempted to construct a foundation for revelation on the basis of universally accessible evidence rather than privileged spiritual knowledge. On the first page of the treatise, Mather stated that he could write the piece as a traditional sermon or jeremiad and make a spiritual appeal.
God was truthful and honest, and he could not compose a false book. ”52 In this convoluted sentence, he stated that reason could only take one so far. The rest of the journey required faith. Yet he could not dispense with the language of reason. Five years later, Mather in Icono-Clastes (1717) rebuked various forms of “Idolatry” commonly ignored by Christians. Reason is a gift from God, but he warned, “Reason is Idolized, When Men will set Reason above Revelation. ”53 He noted that Toland’s Christianity Not Mysterious was a prime example of the idolatry of reason.