Wednesday, 26 December 2012

A Benedict XVI Christmas, by George Weigel

George Weigel in nationalreview. gives us a thoughtful slant on the Christmas story, described by Pope Benedict XVI in his recent book, The Infancy Narratives.

Historians of religious studies would likely regard the past two centuries as the apogee of biblical scholarship. And it’s certainly true that we know far more about the times, customs, languages, thought patterns, worldviews, and literary styles of the people of the Bible and the people who wrote the Bible than did, say, Benjamin Franklin or Thomas Jefferson (two biblically conversant, though deeply skeptical, Founders). Yet all that knowledge has led, not to a renaissance of biblical literacy, but to precisely the opposite.
Outside the thriving worlds of evangelical Protestantism and the rather enclosed world of Orthodoxy, skepticism about the veracity and trustworthiness of the Bible is too often the order of the day among church-going (and even Bible-reading) Christians in the 21st-century West. Two centuries of a historical-critical approach to the Bible, filtered through inept preaching, have led to profound dubieties about what the Bible can tell us. “That didn’t really happen” and “That’s just a myth” — thoughts that simply wouldn’t have occurred to believers of the past — are the skeptical “gotchas” that now pop immediately to mind when many Christians hear the Bible proclaimed in their worship or read the Bible at home.

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