Re: Essay about errancy

From: Michael Roberts <>
Date: Tue Feb 03 2004 - 12:28:56 EST

George wrote;
> some parts of the gospels (& other biblical books) should not be
understood as
> historical accounts at all but as theological commentary on the events
which _are_
> historical.
  the gospels. They are not history "embellished
> for ... theological purposes" but theological documents based on
> persons and events.

Historians would argue that there can be no such thing as a historical
account without interpretation, whether that interpretation is Christian ,
Muslim, atheist Marxist, left wing right wing etc.
Try giving a bare bones account fo the Great awakening of the 1730s without
any interpretation. It is impossible to get beyond "in 1735 many more people
suddenly attended Edwards' church in Northampton". That needs interpretation
to explain why; we could explain it in psychological terms, or theological
etc. A fine example of the latter is Mark Noll's new book The Rise of
Evangelicalism IVP 2004.
The gospels are 4 slightly different theological interpretations of the
alleged historical events relating to Jesus. There are two sets of questions
1. Are we given a reliable version of the historical events
2. Is the interpretation true?

Finally inerrancy as put forward by Hodge and Warfield was far more nuanced
than some ideas today. There was no sense that the Bible taught science etc
( if it did then you must be a flat-earther from Gen 1 6-8. Hodge said there
were minor imperfections like specks of sand in marble. Many evangelicals
have never accepted inerrancy especially those before 1860.

Received on Thu Feb 12 22:41:58 2004

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