Application of Biblical Criticism

What happened, naturally, was that interpretations that did not fit into preconceived notions were deemed “unscientific” and were discarded. Some declared that most of the Bible was not intended for all periods of time. Others tried to show that basic morality was superior to a religion of revelation. Eventually, Genesis and certain New Testament writings were discarded, the miracles and the atonement were denied, Jesus Christ was declared nothing more than a man, and the Bible was simply a product of human minds. In Germany, and later in other parts of the world, sermons became essays on moral or civic duty. Christianity was taken out of the schools and the name of Christ from the hymnbooks. The Life of Jesus by David Strauss, published in 1835, took the position that the narratives of the Gospels were mythical and that the story of Jesus was mainly a product of the imagination. Other lives of Jesus continued to come from the presses of Germany, most of them critical of accepted dogma. By degrees, the conclusions of these men became recognized by most of the leading scholars of English and American theological circles, although they were strenuously opposed by conservatives and only slowly filtered through to the lay mind.

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