By William Johnstone
Read Online or Download The Bible and the Enlightenment: A Case Study - Alexander Geddes (1737-1802) (Journal for the Study of the Old Testament, 377) PDF
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Additional resources for The Bible and the Enlightenment: A Case Study - Alexander Geddes (1737-1802) (Journal for the Study of the Old Testament, 377)
If he affirm,.. by the working of the Holy Spirit in his heart, he plays the enthusiast: and his enthusiasm can be no rational motive of credibility for any other individual, who feels not the like operations of the same Spirit... Yet.. the Romanists.. a vicious circle; and proved the infallibility of the church from the authority of scripture, and the authority of scripture from the church's infallibility. Geddes's rejection of external authorities, whether of Church (and Synagogue) or of the Bible itself, and affirmation of reason as the sole ground of belief is thoroughly in line with the definition of Enlightenment proposed by Alexander Broadie, following Kant (Broadie 2001: 15-16): 'Enlightenment' implies 'emergence from darkness', that is, from the 'dead hand of authority, especially political authority and even more especially religious authority' which could be, and often was, quite literally lethal.
22 The Bible and the Enlightenment The passage from the Preface to Critical Remarks already quoted from in Part I deserves fuller citation. It provides ampler materials on his credo: 'I believe as much as I find sufficient motives of credibility for believing: and without sufficient motives of credibility, there can be no rational belief (p. v). The similarities to, if not the echoes of, David Hume seem unmistakable: 'A wise man... proportions his belief to the evidence' (Of Miracles , quoted in Broadie 1997: 301).
Geddes's use of the term 'document' (by which he means any of the discrete materials, written or oral, that the final compiler has used) may have given rise to the deep-seated misapprehension that he espoused the two-document theory of the composition of Genesis of Astruc and Eichhorn. In John Mauchline's lectures on Old Testament Introduction, referred to above in n. 1800) propounded the Fragment hypothesis'. My matching hand-written lecture notes state that Geddes's view was that the Pentateuch was compiled from fragments in the time of Solomon, by two circles of authors— Elohist and Jahwist.