Locke’s proof of the divine authority of Scripture

Victor Nuovo

in Philosophy and Religion in Enlightenment Britain

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780199227044
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191739309 | DOI:
Locke’s proof of the divine authority of Scripture

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  • History of Western Philosophy


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Locke asserts that the Bible is an infallible source of divine revelation, and that human reason has the capability of establishing its authenticity and determining its meaning. But he apparently fails to justify these claims anywhere in his writings, notwithstanding his awareness of serious challenges to biblical authority. This incongruity can be resolved. Locke did offer a proof of the authenticity of the Bible, but it has gone unnoticed because of its form and character. Analogous to natural theological arguments founded on evidence in nature of divine wisdom and power and goodness, his proof is cumulative and scattered among his writings. A principal source is a work by Faustus Socinus, known to Locke. The form of the argument, its strategy, and its occurrence in Locke’s writings are presented in the remaining part of the chapter.

Keywords: Bible; revelation; reason; biblical interpretation; God; divine wisdom; miracles; Messianic secret; John Locke; Faustus Socinus

Chapter.  11412 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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