Does the Bible Contradict Itself? Very Well Then, It Contradicts Itself

Like Walt Whitman in Song of Myself, the Hebrew Bible is large, it contains multitudes.

From a frontispiece to a 13th century manuscript of the Hebrew Bible now in the British Museum in London. Photo12/UIG via Getty Images.

From a frontispiece to a 13th century manuscript of the Hebrew Bible now in the British Museum in London. Photo12/UIG via Getty Images.

Response
Jan. 16 2017
About the author

R. R. Reno is the editor of First Things. His books include Fighting the Noonday Devil and Other Essays Personal and Theological and, most recently, Resurrecting the Idea of a Christian Society.


After the Reformation in the 16th century, the word “allegory” became virtually outlawed among Protestants. It was an omnibus term referring to any reading of the biblical text that imported an elaborate interpretive apparatus. The Reformers wanted the plain and simple words of the Bible and imposed the interpretive asceticism of sola scriptura. Centuries later, their descendants pioneered the methods of historical criticism. Anachronism became the new swear word. The new asceticism required restricting our readings of the Bible to what could be “scientifically” determined by biblical scholars properly trained in the secular church of the university.

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