Saturday, February 19, 2005

Biblical Authority and Constitutional Interpretation, Part 1

We have often tried to persuade our Christian readers that Christianity must move away from biblical absolutism. We must see Christ and Christ's message - and not the various documents compiled by the Roman Bishop Athanasius (with "input" from the Roman Emperor) more than three centuries after Christ's death - as God's revelation to mankind. At our most radical, we have argued that excessive attention and deference to the bible as authority may actually lead Christians astray - further from God and further from Christ.

But does this mean that the bible has no authority? Should the portions of the bible that do not record the teachings of Christ - essentially everything but the gospels - be abandoned altogether in the struggle to put Christ back at the center of Christianity?

Upon reflection, I think that abandoning the bible altogether and denying that it has any authority would be throwing the baby out with the bathwater. In the coming days, I hope to articulate a more nuanced understanding of the bible that neither denigrates it nor permits it to overtake Christ's rightful place as the center of Christianity. My understanding of the bible's authority has been influenced by my study of Constitutional Law and interpretation and will be illuminated by comparison to it.

More tomorrow....

2 Comments:

At 3:16 PM, Blogger DLW said...

I'm reading this huge book by James D. G.Dunn titled "Jesus Remembered". He deals with the many different ways that Jesus has been historically remembered and goes over the evidence.

I think its important to separate the Bible from the Canon. Much of scripture was written relatively close to the time of Jesus and demonstrates the existence of an oral tradition that permitted and structured various performances of how Jesus was to be remembered.

It also deals in some detail with neo-liberalism, like with Crossan.

dlw

 
At 5:39 PM, Anonymous Andrew said...

See also Prothero's American Jesus for the particularly American trend of re-re-centering Christianity on Christ. The views of the Founding Fathers would be especially helpful considering your own interest in Constitutional Law.

 

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