From: George Murphy (email@example.com)
Date: Wed Jun 25 2003 - 09:36:20 EDT
> In a message dated 6/24/03 8:14:28 AM Mountain Standard Time,
> TDavis@messiah.edu writes:
> << I think these answer entirely or partially all of Howard's questions except
> the first one. As for that one, the answer is all over the place in the
> concordist tradition since Bacon and Galileo in the early 17th century.
> "Obviously," they would have told Howard, "the book of nature and the book
> of scripture have the same author. Therefore they must agree, when rightly
> interpreted." Indeed, although I am not a concordist myself, I think this
> is probably the *strongest* reason one can give in support of *any* general
> attitude/approach toward science and theology--namely, ,the assumption that
> truth is one and has a single ultimate source.
> ted >>
> Perhaps this has been answered before on the list, but when was the "two
> books" analogy first used? As Ted points out, it's obviously in Bacon and Galileo
> but did it originate in late medieval or early modern Scholasticism? What
> were the historical/theological circumstances that prompted its introduction?
> Are there patristic sources?
Several Christian sources have been noted by others. Related ideas are also
part of the Jewish tradition. E.g., Rabbi Judah Halevi thought of the universe as
/sefer/, "text". A discussion of his (& other) ideas is in Barry Kogan, "Judaism and
Contemporary Scientific Cosmology - Redesigning the Design Argument" in David Novak and
Norbert Samuelson (eds.), _Creation and the End of Days_ (University Press of America,
But Halevi also shows one of the pitfalls of the 2 books metaphor, the idea that
the "book of nature" is to be read _before_ the "book of scripture." He made use of the
tradition that Abraham engaged in astronomical studies, and that only after this
received the call described in Genesis 12. But there is absolutely no biblical support
for this notion. The citations of Tertullian by Bob Schneider and of the Belgic
Confession by Graham Morbey display the same problem. It is a problem because, inter
alia, it usually results in having to shoehorn distinctively biblical concepts of God
(Incarnation and Trinity) into a unitarian deity supposedly learned of from nature.
The difficulty is not with the 2 books idea itself but with the order in which
they are read. The book of scripture needs to be read before the book of nature (in
order to do theology - not science). In addition, the "book of scripture" should be
understood as witness to God's fundamental revelation, not that revelation itself.
George L. Murphy
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