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Christian Tractatus

(Text as at 12/08/2007 10:17:46)

From the viewpoint of internal consistency & style, the Bible gives the impression of being a generally reliable, but not inerrant, document.

  1. The Bible, contrary to the more exaggerated criticisms of the Enlightenment, is a very reliable set of documents, at least when compared1 with other documents of similar dates.
  2. However, it is a very big step indeed from the above statement to one asserting complete inerrancy2.
  3. A paradigm of inerrancy of a "mathematical3" character, such as one based on Biblical numerics and the over-zealous identification of chiasmus & other literary structures, is not borne out by the facts of the Biblical text.
  4. The ploy of ascribing the "good" in the Scriptures to divine inspiration & the "bad" to the style of the human author makes inerrancy incapable of demonstration on stylistic grounds. Since there is no way of falsifying such a claim, it is unscientific and may be rejected.
  5. The Bible should not be taken as a "package4". We should believe its statements (if we do) individually, recognising the diversity of the material with respect to date, provenance, intent, style and other literary qualities.
  6. We now consider some issues of the internal self-consistency of the Bible, the major problems of which include the following discrepancies, or alleged discrepancies. Examples could be multiplied, but I have restricted myself to some general observations5.
  7. As a final topic in the consideration of the internals of the Bible, we need to consider the state6 of the text, for unless the text of the Bible is in good condition and faithfully reflects the original autographs (where such existed), much of the authority it may once have had will have been lost.
  8. In conclusion, despite the problems associated with the relationship of the Old Testament to the New and with parallel passages in both Testaments, there is nothing internal to either Testament that is fatal to the view of their possessing a general unity of message nor of their being generally reliable. While there are different emphases in the various parts of the Bible, and considerable doctrinal development, there is little internal to the Bible that is destructive of general reliability. However, the detailed problems that arise would appear to be destructive of claims to inerrancy.

Note last updated Reference for this Topic Parent Topic
12/08/2007 10:17:46 183 (Reliability) CT Introduction

Summary of Note Links from this Page

Bible - Internal Self-Consistency Bible - State of the Text Inerrancy - 'Mathematical' Package Beliefs Reliability - Comparative
Reliability to Inerrancy        

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Summary of Note Links to this Page

CT Introduction        

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