The Bible: Faith and Evidence: A Critical Enquiry into the Nature of Biblical Historyby John R R. Bartlett
This survey of 200 years of biblical criticism shows that the biblical writers were not concerned with history of natural phenomena for their own sake, but with the community of Israel or
Biblical writings grew out of faith, reflect faith and aim to support faith. But how much faith should a historian have in the evidence of the traditions contained in the Bible?
This survey of 200 years of biblical criticism shows that the biblical writers were not concerned with history of natural phenomena for their own sake, but with the community of Israel or with the church of Christ. The New Testament Gospels, for example, are not simply biographies, but were written, as the Fourth Gospel puts it, "that you may believe Jesus was the Christ". While their evidence, therefore, is not reliable as a history of biblical times, it does reveal the beliefs of the writers, and it is their beliefs which have been fundamental to the faith of succeeding generations.
While the historical books of the Bible may not, therefore, be read as pure history, they were undoubtedly rooted in the events of their times. The author shows how large parts of the Old Testament were inspired by the exile to Babylon, and how without the existence of the Roman Empire, an obscure Jewish sect could never have developed into the dominating religion of the Western world.
This book takes as its theme the complex relationship between faith and evidence, and between history and faith.
Other work by the author includes "Edom and the Edomites", "Cities of the Biblical World:
Jericho", "The First and Second Book of the Maccabees" and "Jews in the Hellenistic World".
- British Museum Press
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