The Bible: Faith and Evidence: A Critical Enquiry into the Nature of Biblical History

Overview

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 ...

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Overview

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".

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780714117546
  • Publisher: British Museum Press
  • Publication date: 10/31/1994
  • Pages: 272

Table of Contents

Approaches to the Bible
the nature and scope of the Bible
faith and origins
the importance of the land
politics and history
politics and prophets
chaos and creation
temple, law and Jerusalem
the challenge of the Hellenistic world
a kingdom once again
the kingdom of God is at hand
from Jerusalem to Rome
letters in the early church
the four gospels
the revelation to St John
the Bible - tradition, faith and evidence. Chart of comparative dates. Chronology of the kings of Judah and Israel. Some landmarks in archaeological exploration. Bibliography of Biblical commentaries. Index of Biblical references.
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