Chapter

Criticism and the Death of Scripture

Robert Morgan and John Barton

in Biblical Interpretation

Published in print September 1988 | ISBN: 9780192132567
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191670060 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780192132567.003.0002

Series: Oxford Bible Series

Criticism and the Death of Scripture

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This chapter begins with a discussion of David Friedrich Strauss's controversial book, The Life of Jesus, which was seen as a massive assault upon the central tenets of Christianity. Strauss showed, in a piece-by-piece analysis of each Gospel incident, that these stories were not history, but something else. If traditional supernaturalism depended upon the historicity of the Gospels, its fabric was relentlessly unpicked by Strauss's analysis. The chapter then analyses the works of H. S. Reimarus, a deist, i.e. he believed in God, but not in revelation, miracles, or other supernatural interventions; and those of John William Colenso, the missionary bishop of Natal, whose writings reveal the credibility gap between the plain words of scripture, which were still officially held to be inerrant, and what educated people in fact believed.

Keywords: David Friedrich Strauss; Life of Jesus; Christianity; gospels; H. S. Reimarus; John William Colenso; biblical scholarship

Chapter.  6615 words. 

Subjects: Biblical Studies

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