The Bible Made Impossible: Moving from Biblicism to a Truly Evangelical Reading of Scripture

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Baker Publishing Group, Aug 1, 2011 - Religion - 240 pages
Biblicism, an approach to the Bible common among some American evangelicals, emphasizes together the Bible's exclusive authority, infallibility, clarity, self-sufficiency, internal consistency, self-evident meaning, and universal applicability. Acclaimed sociologist Christian Smith argues that this approach is misguided and unable to live up to its own claims. If evangelical biblicism worked as its proponents say it should, there would not be the vast variety of interpretive differences that biblicists themselves reach when they actually read and interpret the Bible.

Smith describes the assumptions, beliefs, and practices of evangelical biblicism and sets it in historical, sociological, and philosophical context. He explains why it is an impossible approach to the Bible as an authority and provides constructive alternative approaches to help evangelicals be more honest and faithful in reading the Bible. Far from challenging the inspiration and authority of Scripture, Smith critiques a particular rendering of it, encouraging evangelicals to seek a more responsible, coherent, and defensible approach to biblical authority.

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User Review  - Jonathan Becker -

Pros: 1) Smith treats those who hold to a biblicist model with considerable respect (at least compared to the way they would treat him). 2) A number of good objections are raised against biblicism ... Read full review

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User Review  - gdill - LibraryThing

In his book, "The Bible Made Impossible" Smith takes on the issue of Biblicism, an extremely high view of Scripture held by many Evangelicals today. Smith defines Biblicism as: "a particular theory ... Read full review

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About the author (2011)

Christian Smith (PhD, Harvard University) is the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Sociology and director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Society at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, where he has been cited as an outstanding faculty member. He is the award-winning author or coauthor of numerous books, most recently What Is a Person? Rethinking Humanity, Social Life, and Moral Good from the Person Up and Souls in Transition: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of Emerging Adults. His research focuses primarily on religion in modernity, adolescents, American evangelicalism, and culture.

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