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date: 04 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The nineteenth century saw profound doubts about the veracity, trustworthiness, and authority of Scripture take root within ecclesial circles. This chapter considers the variegated shifts in views of the Bible across this period, arguing that differentiated challenges converged to issue a question to Christian churches about the nature of their Bible, though the contours of these challenges and their responses differed by national context. Advances in the hard sciences, and in particular geology and biology, troubled the long-standing attempt to use the natural world as a source of ‘evidences’ for the truth of the Bible. The widespread historicization of European thought gave rise to attempts to understand the Hebrews and early Christians, as well as their writings, in the context of antiquity. Finally, the concrete results of historical criticism increasingly problematized attempts to view the Bible as a unified text whose veracity was secured by trustworthy authorial claims.

Keywords: historical criticism, historicization, authority, Bible, Charles Lyell, Charles Darwin, T. H. Huxley

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