Was there a critical study of the Scriptures In the first centuries of Christianity?
May 15, 2015 10:43pm CST
In the West the critical study of the Scriptures is something quite recent. For hundreds of years people were content to accept the Bible -both Old and New Testaments- as it was. A reading produced nothing more than remarks vindicating it. It would have been a sin to level the slightest criticism at it. The clergy were privileged in that they were easily able to have a comprehensive knowledge of the Bible, while the majority of laymen heard only selected readings as part of a sermon or the liturgy. -Raised to the level of a specialized study, textual criticism has been valuable in uncovering and disseminating problems which are often very serious. How disappointing it is therefore to read works of a so-called critical nature which, when faced with very real problems of interpretation, merely provide passages of an apologetical nature by means of which the author contrives to hide his dilemma. Whoever retains his objective judgment and power of thought at such a moment will not find the improbabilities and contradictions any the less persistent. One can only regret an attitude which, in the face of all logical reason, upholds certain passages in the Biblical Scriptures even though they are riddled with errors. -It can exercise an extremely damaging influence upon the cultivated mind with regard to belief in God. Experience shows however that even if the few are able to distinguish fallacies of this kind, the vast majority of Christians have never taken any account of such incompatibilities with their secular knowledge, even though they are often very elementary.