Essays and Reviews

Peter Hinchliff

in Benjamin Jowett and the Christian Religion

Published in print November 1987 | ISBN: 9780198266884
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191683091 | DOI:
Essays and Reviews

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Jowett's contribution to Essays and Reviews was solicited — according to his quasi-official biography — by H. B. Wilson. It was intended that ‘theological subjects should be freely handled in a becoming spirit’. Jowett's essay was a long one, almost double the length of the other contributions. Jowett insisted that it was essential that the results of scientific enquiry and critical scholarship be taken seriously. The Bible ought to be treated as any other book would be treated, in its context and as expressing the mind of a particular author, an era, and a cultural setting. He wanted to get rid of the complex patterns of symbolic, traditional, and allegorical interpretation which, he maintained, had been read into, rather than out of, the actual text. He thought that trying to ‘prove’ doctrinal positions from scripture was an ill-conceived and impossible task. Above all, he seems to have felt that getting back to the meaning of the New Testament itself was essentially a process of simplification and that the benefits accruing from the process would be those which resulted from simplicity.

Keywords: Benjamin Jowett; Bible; New Testament; essay; scripture

Chapter.  10230 words. 

Subjects: History of Christianity

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