Concise yet detailed exploration of how early Christians viewed the inspiration of Scripture
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 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.
Interpreting the Bible well is a daunting and difficult task, one that requires wise mentors in the faith from both the past and the present. Michael Graves is a wise, learned, perceptive guide who knows the church fathers well; this wonderful book will help modern readers understand the rhyme and reason of ancient Christian perspectives on inspiration and interpretation. Highly recommended.
-Christopher A. Hall,
Palmer Theological Seminary
Michael Graves's research is painstaking - his endnotes here show a depth of endeavor and learning - yet he has a sharp, even provocative thesis: the church fathers saw scriptural inspiration to be about God speaking through the Bible to each reader 'at sundry times and in divers manners.'. . . A gripping scholarly work that combines learning with praxis, historical theology with self-reflection.
-Mark W. Elliott,
University of St. Andrews
Drawing on the resources of the early church, Michael Graves takes an interestingly textured approach to the abiding questions surrounding a theology of scripture. . . . Anyone who cares about the subject matter will welcome this book's fresh and engaging attention to the early church's hermeneutical diversity.
University of Oxford
In this concise and readable volume, Michael Graves navigates the diverse and complex landscape of the nature and use of Scripture among the church's earliest theologians. His engaging account invites readers of Scripture today neither to pillage the ancients for our own agenda, nor to ignore them to our poverty, but to converse with them along our own contemporary hermeneutical journey. A much-needed entry point to the sometimes bewildering world of ancient Christian interpreters, this book will prove to be of great value for addressing any number of interpretive issues that beset the church today.
A most learned and realistic assessment of scriptural authority and use in the patristic era. Steeped in primary sources, Graves invites us to enter the interpretive world of the ancients instead of making them suit our expectations.
-D. H. Williams,
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