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The Bible, the Church, and Authority: The Canon of the Christian Bible in History and Theology

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Since the early days of Christianity a tension has existed between the authority of the Bible and the authority of the Church. This has been further heightened by the question of Bible translation: How does the Word stand firm and yet continue to speak to a changing Church? Joseph Lienhard, a specialist in Early Christianity, examines the evolution of the Christian canon by Since the early days of Christianity a tension has existed between the authority of the Bible and the authority of the Church. This has been further heightened by the question of Bible translation: How does the Word stand firm and yet continue to speak to a changing Church? Joseph Lienhard, a specialist in Early Christianity, examines the evolution of the Christian canon by casting this question against the life of the early Christians. Among the topics treated are the Christian use of Jewish Scriptures, the Catholic and Protestant Old Testaments, the emergence of the New Testament, the struggle for the right interpretation of the Scriptures, the problem of inspiration, and modern attempts to explain the Church's New Testament canon theologically. The book questions the use of historicist methods of interpretation and appeals to the Rule of Faith as the right norm for interpreting the Scriptures in the Church. Joseph T. Lienhard, SJ, earned his doctorate at the University of Freiburg im Breisgau (Germany) with two dissertations on Paulinus of Nola and Marcellus of Ancyra. His work is in patristics. He taught at Marquette University from 1975 to 1990, and since 1990 has been at Fordham University, where he is also chair of the department of theology. He has published Ministry in the Message of the Fathers of the Church series and other titles.


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Since the early days of Christianity a tension has existed between the authority of the Bible and the authority of the Church. This has been further heightened by the question of Bible translation: How does the Word stand firm and yet continue to speak to a changing Church? Joseph Lienhard, a specialist in Early Christianity, examines the evolution of the Christian canon by Since the early days of Christianity a tension has existed between the authority of the Bible and the authority of the Church. This has been further heightened by the question of Bible translation: How does the Word stand firm and yet continue to speak to a changing Church? Joseph Lienhard, a specialist in Early Christianity, examines the evolution of the Christian canon by casting this question against the life of the early Christians. Among the topics treated are the Christian use of Jewish Scriptures, the Catholic and Protestant Old Testaments, the emergence of the New Testament, the struggle for the right interpretation of the Scriptures, the problem of inspiration, and modern attempts to explain the Church's New Testament canon theologically. The book questions the use of historicist methods of interpretation and appeals to the Rule of Faith as the right norm for interpreting the Scriptures in the Church. Joseph T. Lienhard, SJ, earned his doctorate at the University of Freiburg im Breisgau (Germany) with two dissertations on Paulinus of Nola and Marcellus of Ancyra. His work is in patristics. He taught at Marquette University from 1975 to 1990, and since 1990 has been at Fordham University, where he is also chair of the department of theology. He has published Ministry in the Message of the Fathers of the Church series and other titles.

45 review for The Bible, the Church, and Authority: The Canon of the Christian Bible in History and Theology

  1. 5 out of 5

    Monica Willyard Moen

    I discovered this book while looking for titles I might read about church history, especially that of the early church and medieval church. This wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, but it proved to be well worth my time in reading it. The content of the book is challenging both intellectually and on an emotional level where some of our most deeply held assumptions exist. Until I read this book, I never gave much thought about how people of the Jewish faith might feel about questions using and I discovered this book while looking for titles I might read about church history, especially that of the early church and medieval church. This wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, but it proved to be well worth my time in reading it. The content of the book is challenging both intellectually and on an emotional level where some of our most deeply held assumptions exist. Until I read this book, I never gave much thought about how people of the Jewish faith might feel about questions using and claiming their scriptures to prove the existence of the Messiah and that he had already come. I kind of took that for granted. In the past, I’ve vaguely understood that the council had meant to decide which books should be included in the New Testament. When I was young, I naïvely believed that if we all loved God and wanted to serve him, we would naturally get along and agree. Now I see that while some of this was about disagreement, more of the council was about how to determine which books are credible, which contain heresies as revealed by teachings from the apostles, and how easy it is for a person to form a belief that is heresy but that seems right to him. It is so easy to use human logic to come up with such ideas. In this area of life, I am much like a child who has just discovered that the world is much bigger than her small town, and it is more complex than she ever imagined. This book is written by a professor who is also a Catholic. In the past, many people wouldn’t even pick it up because it was written from that point of you. Yet it is from reading this book that I begin to really understand the differences as well as the similarities between Protestants and Catholics. I have also begun to understand that while we use a similar Bible there are differences, and the differences do matter. This book is short and can be read in one sitting. Yet there are things I did not understand upon my first reading. I plan to revisit this book several times in the future to investigate those things and try to learn more. It is written by a man who clearly loves the Scriptures, and it is written for students. In this case, that would be me. :-)

  2. 5 out of 5

    Todd Hains

    Fun and short.

  3. 4 out of 5

    FatherSwithin

    A clear description of the development of Scripture and what that means, theologically. This explains where “Catholic” and “Protestant” most clearly diverge. --Fr Russell

  4. 4 out of 5

    Brian Henritze

  5. 5 out of 5

    Gabriel

  6. 5 out of 5

    Clement House

  7. 5 out of 5

    Joseph Matos

  8. 5 out of 5

    Joe

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly Phan

  10. 4 out of 5

    Gregory Wassen

  11. 5 out of 5

    James O'Donnell

  12. 4 out of 5

    Matt Kreh

  13. 4 out of 5

    Khoi Le

  14. 5 out of 5

    Erica Christy

  15. 4 out of 5

    Mike Varenne

  16. 4 out of 5

    Craig

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jesse Martinez

  18. 5 out of 5

    Brooks Robinson

  19. 5 out of 5

    Scott

  20. 4 out of 5

    Chad Handley

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Langr

  22. 5 out of 5

    Marshaé Sylvester

  23. 4 out of 5

    sch

    A theologically and polemically chaste book.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Nathan

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sara

  26. 5 out of 5

    Charles Coyle

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kevin J Combs

  28. 4 out of 5

    Megan

  29. 4 out of 5

    Michael

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jen

  31. 5 out of 5

    Yanxi

  32. 4 out of 5

    Joe Dantona

  33. 5 out of 5

    Josiah

  34. 4 out of 5

    Dr Ley

  35. 4 out of 5

    Catherine

  36. 4 out of 5

    Chris Padgett (thebookaholic1 )

  37. 4 out of 5

    Duy

  38. 5 out of 5

    Jasmine Webb

  39. 4 out of 5

    Krisi Keley

  40. 5 out of 5

    John Betts

  41. 5 out of 5

    Matt

  42. 5 out of 5

    JMRoegner

  43. 5 out of 5

    Jonas Shell

  44. 5 out of 5

    John English

  45. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

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