All Academic, Inc. Research Logo

Info/CitationFAQResearchAll Academic Inc.
Document

(Un)Civil Religion? Thomas Paine, John Locke, and the Role of the Churches in Liberal Society
Unformatted Document Text:  19 about to deconstruct the historical account that it offers. Writing as a prosecutor, he questions the accuracy of the “histories” contained in the various books of the Old Testament, noting irregularities in the chronology and contradictions within the books themselves. Paine concludes: “It is not the antiquity of a tale that is an evidence of its truth; on the contrary, it is a symptom of its being fabulous; for the more ancient any history pretends to be, the more it has the resemblance of a fable. The origin of every nation is buried in fabulous tradition, and that of the Jews is as much to be suspected as any other.” 55 Paine offers a similar critique of the New Testament. In part two of the Age of Reason he notes, in considerable detail, the prominent differences among the various accounts of Jesus’ life. Paine asserts that these differences are evidence of the falsity of the New Testament; he opines that “Truth is a uniform thing; and as to inspiration and revelation, were we to admit it, it is impossible to suppose it can be contradictory.” 56 Benedict de Spinoza rejects much of the Bible on precisely the same grounds; like Paine, he mounts a rationalistic inquiry into the Biblical account. 57 Yet Spinoza’s stated motivation for doing so differs profoundly from Paine’s. [W]e should have knowledge on the other points…in order to be sure, in addition to the authenticity of the work, that it has not been tampered with by sacrilegious hands, or whether errors have crept in…All these things should be known, that we may not be led away by blind impulse to accept whatever is thrust on our notice, instead of only that which is sure and indisputable. 58 55 Age of Reason 78. 56 Age of Reason 148. 57 Stressing the scientific nature of his inquiry, Spinoza insists that one ought to examine Scripture as one would examine nature: one must support any Biblical interpretation with clear evidence that is consistent with human experience. Benedict de Spinoza, A Theologico-Political Treatise, Trans. R.H.M Elwes, (New York: Dover Publications, 1951) 99, 119. 58 Theologico-Political Treatise 103.

Authors: Parsons, William.
first   previous   Page 19 of 29   next   last



background image
19
about to deconstruct the historical account that it offers. Writing as a prosecutor, he
questions the accuracy of the “histories” contained in the various books of the Old
Testament, noting irregularities in the chronology and contradictions within the books
themselves. Paine concludes: “It is not the antiquity of a tale that is an evidence of its
truth; on the contrary, it is a symptom of its being fabulous; for the more ancient any
history pretends to be, the more it has the resemblance of a fable. The origin of every
nation is buried in fabulous tradition, and that of the Jews is as much to be suspected as
any other.”
55
Paine offers a similar critique of the New Testament. In part two of the
Age of Reason he notes, in considerable detail, the prominent differences among the
various accounts of Jesus’ life. Paine asserts that these differences are evidence of the
falsity of the New Testament; he opines that “Truth is a uniform thing; and as to
inspiration and revelation, were we to admit it, it is impossible to suppose it can be
contradictory.”
56
Benedict de Spinoza rejects much of the Bible on precisely the same grounds; like
Paine, he mounts a rationalistic inquiry into the Biblical account.
57
Yet Spinoza’s stated
motivation for doing so differs profoundly from Paine’s.
[W]e should have knowledge on the other points…in order to be sure, in
addition to the authenticity of the work, that it has not been tampered with
by sacrilegious hands, or whether errors have crept in…All these things
should be known, that we may not be led away by blind impulse to accept
whatever is thrust on our notice, instead of only that which is sure and
indisputable.
58
55
Age of Reason 78.
56
Age of Reason 148.
57
Stressing the scientific nature of his inquiry, Spinoza insists that one ought to examine Scripture as one
would examine nature: one must support any Biblical interpretation with clear evidence that is consistent
with human experience. Benedict de Spinoza, A Theologico-Political Treatise, Trans. R.H.M Elwes, (New
York: Dover Publications, 1951) 99, 119.
58
Theologico-Political Treatise 103.


Convention
Need a solution for abstract management? All Academic can help! Contact us today to find out how our system can help your annual meeting.
Submission - Custom fields, multiple submission types, tracks, audio visual, multiple upload formats, automatic conversion to pdf.
Review - Peer Review, Bulk reviewer assignment, bulk emails, ranking, z-score statistics, and multiple worksheets!
Reports - Many standard and custom reports generated while you wait. Print programs with participant indexes, event grids, and more!
Scheduling - Flexible and convenient grid scheduling within rooms and buildings. Conflict checking and advanced filtering.
Communication - Bulk email tools to help your administrators send reminders and responses. Use form letters, a message center, and much more!
Management - Search tools, duplicate people management, editing tools, submission transfers, many tools to manage a variety of conference management headaches!
Click here for more information.

first   previous   Page 19 of 29   next   last

©2012 All Academic, Inc.