Tuesday 9 April 2013

Gai Ferdon on the Political Use of the Bible in Early Modern Britain

The Jubilee Centre has published this 89-page report by Gai Ferdon on the political use of the Bible in early modern Britain.

For those who might wonder why 21st-century Christians should ‘take the time and effort to learn about how seventeenth-century Protestants thought about politics’, John Coffey offers three reasons in the foreword:

First, as ‘a means of resourcement... to enlarge our reference group and learn from the wisdom (and folly) of past generations’.

Second, it allow us to see ‘certain perennial issues and tendencies in Christian political thought’, and ‘understanding the past helps us to make sense of our present’.

Third, ‘this study gets us to wrestle with the problem of biblical hermeneutics... shows that there are no easy answers when it comes to reading the Bible politically, and it ought to make us more self-critical in our own hermeneutics’. And yet, ‘we also find evidence of deep and serious engagement with the Bible, and see how the reflecting on the Old and New Testaments was once an integral part of European political thinking’.

More information is available here, and the full report is available as a pdf here.

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