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What is true of Scripture as a result of being inspired? What should divine inspiration cause us to expect from it? The answers to these questions in the early church related not just to the nature of Scripture's truth claims but to the manner in which Scripture was to be interpreted.In this book Michael Graves delves into what Christians in the first five centuries believWhat is true of Scripture as a result of being inspired? What should divine inspiration cause us to expect from it? The answers to these questions in the early church related not just to the nature of Scripture's truth claims but to the manner in which Scripture was to be interpreted.In this book Michael Graves delves into what Christians in the first five centuries believed about the inspiration of Scripture, identifying the ideas that early Christians considered to be logical implications of biblical inspiration. Many books presume to discuss how some current trend relates to the "traditional" view of biblical inspiration; this one actually describes in a detailed and nuanced way what the "traditional" view is and explores the differences between ancient and modern assumptions on the topic.Accessible and engaging, The Inspiration and Interpretation of Scripture presents a rich network of theological ideas about the Bible together with critical engagement with the biblical text....

Title : The Inspiration and Interpretation of Scripture: What the Early Church Can Teach Us
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ISBN : 9780802869630
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 224 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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The Inspiration and Interpretation of Scripture: What the Early Church Can Teach Us Reviews

  • Michael Clevenger
    2019-02-15 18:57

    Main thesis:The early Church believed the Scriptures to be inspired.There was a diversity of interpretations and approaches to the Scriptures in the early churchand that is not something to be feared but celebrated.I appreciated some of the excerpts Graves used from various early church writers.I appreciated that he stressed the importance of interpreting as a community.I hated that he used endnotes instead of footnotes.And his final conclusion [featured below--specifically the bolded parts] drove me mad."Diversity in scriptural interpretation offers many benefits for the church. It is therefore helpful for Christians to know others who hold differing views, so that each Christian can hear opposing viewpoints precisely as their adherents would explain them. This provides the best opportunity for finding the soundest readings of Scripture. Obviously, the existence of diverse interpretation means that some error coexists with truth. Although obviously not ideal, this is unavoidable in our present state. The benefits that come when diversity is embraced far outweigh any benefits that might come from ignoring or suppressing it.It should not be regarded as a problem that there is interpretive pluralism in the church's reading of Scripture. In fact, this is a fruitful product of the democratization of Christian life embodied in the principle of sola scriptura. The early church believed that God inspired the Scriptures in order to instruct humanity. Despite some variety of views on the precise implications of inspiration, all Christians regarded Scripture as authoritative and true in its message. Most believed that Scripture communicated in special ways as a result of being inspired and that some kind of spiritual perception was necessary in order to understand it properly. Above all, ancient Christians believed that Scripture had a spiritual sense that focused somehow on Christ. As the early church recognized, Scripture continues to instruct because of its divine subject matter, because of the events it describes, and because its symbols and metaphors continue to point to God. Although many early Christian beliefs about inspiration cannot be brought into the modern world without at least some qualifications, certain key ideas related to spiritual perception, moral reasoning, profitability for the soul, and unity of purpose are essential for a fuller Christian appreciation of Scripture today. This rich and complex manner of reading Scripture underscores the element of subjectivity involved in interpretation.In my view, this subjectivity means that scriptural authority should be construed as functioning ultimately between God and the individual Christian. This dovetails well with the reality of pluralism in the interpretation of Scripture, which is not a problem but a blessing for the church."Graves' anachronistic interposing of sola scriptura into the life of the early church is strange. Quoting from Dr. Clark Carlton: "The tradition of the Apostles is the authoritative interpretive matrix within which the Scriptures are rightly understood. Taken out of that necessary interpretive context, however, the Scriptures become just another set of ancient texts, open to as many interpretations as the imagination of man can conceive."Various interpretations are fine, dialogue is fine, but the fruit needs to be addressed: The constant schisms and splinters within protestantism with +30,000 denominations and an average of 5 added per week is a problem and not to be celebrated.Once again, if there were endnotes, I would have given him 3/5.Perhaps my low score isn't so fair; I am just disappointed in his conclusion.

  • Tiffany
    2019-02-02 16:07

    This book clearly and helpfully articulated the complexity of the doctrines surrounding inspiration and interpretation. Especially fine were the scholarly foundations/footnotes that undergird the work and make up a hefty section of footnotes. Graves is especially fine on Jerome (his scholarly wheelhouse), but there are a number of well-chosen passages from other early church leaders too that I can see myself referring to or using in other contexts. I suspect that this book would be an excellent foundation for people who want to preach from the Bible--preaching classes, exegesis classes, etc.--but even as a lay reader of scripture, I was helped and equipped for interpretation. Give me something like it too on canon-establishment, and I'll be happy! I enjoyed reading this and look forward to more from Graves.

  • Scott
    2019-02-14 19:14

    A very fascinating survey of varying understandings of the Church Fathers about the nature of Inspiration. I found myself to be sympathetic with his conclusion regarding the good of theological interpretation and a multiplicity of meanings with the biblical text. However, I wonder if there are limits -- or better, what *are* the limits and how do we determine them? I wish there had been more elaboration on that in the conclusion. All things considered, a really fine book.

  • Радостин Марчев
    2019-02-08 17:58

    Кратка, лека за четене книжка по въпроса за патристичната егзегетика и виждане за писанието. Авторът е събрал наистина много примери по всеки въпрос, което дава наистина хубава представа за приликите и разликите от съвременното тълкуване и виждания. Като цяло полезно четиво.

  • Timothy Harmon
    2019-02-07 11:54

    This book explores patristic literature concerning the inspiration and interpretation of Scripture, focusing on the second through the sixth centuries AD. It isn't merely a book that catalogues and synthesizes pertinent writings of Church Fathers. It does do that, and does so reasonably well. However, in a significant way, the book also casts a fresh vision regarding the nature of and interpretation of Scripture.To truly grasp this vision, it helps to have some familiarity with the emerging field that undergirds it: the so-called Theological Interpretation of Scripture (TIS). In developing his thesis, Graves works to describe, “the network of ideas about inspiration reflected in early Christian writings” (3). This is done not via descriptions of inspiration per se, but rather the possible entailments of inspiration.An entailment is a statement that necessarily follows another. For example:A. Bob lives in Seattle.B. Bob lives in Washington State.In the above scenario, B is an entailment of A. However, B is not an entailment of A (just because Bob lives in Washington State doesn’t necessarily entail that he lives in Seattle). In a similar manner, the entailments that Graves highlights tend to work in one direction.Keep in mind that this is no exercise in crafting a systematic definition of inspiration, or of explaining its mechanics. Rather, Graves’ task is a step removed from describing inspiration itself, instead focusing on what follows from inspiration. As he treks through his historical research, Graves identifies the following twenty possible entailments of inspiration (organized under five larger headings). After unpacking these potential entailments, Graves concedes that there is diversity in the patristic evidence, and that not all of data has equal contemporary import. All in all, Graves’ work here will be a welcome contribution to many who embrace TIS, and it further has much to offer in terms of its impressive survey of patristic writings on bibliology and hermeneutics. However, among those who are skeptical of TIS, there is bound to be a fair bit of feather-ruffling. Even so, I believe that furthering the evangelical conversation about inspiration and its impact on how Christians approach Scripture is of value – regardless of whether some feathers get bent in the process.