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Between Faith and Criticism: Evangelicals, Scholarship, and the Bible in America [Paperback]

By Mark A. Noll (Author)
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Item Specifications...

Pages   284
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.5" Width: 5.5" Height: 0.64"
Weight:   0.8 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   May 1, 2004
Publisher   Regent College Publishing
ISBN  1573830984  
EAN  9781573830980  

Availability  125 units.
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Item Description...
Historian Mark Noll traces evangelicalism from its nineteenth-century roots. He applies lessons learned in the milieu of Great Britain and North America to answer the question: Have evangelicals grown to mature confidence in their views of God and Scripture so they may stand-alone if they must-between faith and higher critical skepticism? "This is nuts-and-bolts history at its best." - Douglas Jacobsen, Fides et Historia "This is not only an outstanding study of evangelical biblical scholarship, it is the best survey of the twentieth-century evangelical thought that we have." - George Marsden "This book will be of immense value to all who want to know what the background to current evangelical biblical scholarship is, and who want to explore the likely developments in the future." - Gerald Bray, The Churchman " Noll] has enriched our knowledge of this history through his mastery of its substance and has come to grips with its findings." - Todd Nichol, Word and World Mark A. Noll, the McManis Professor of Christian Thought and professor of church history at Wheaton College, has written more than ten books, including Religion, Faith and American Politics, and Christian Faith and Practice in the Modern World. He edited Confessions and Catechisms of the Reformation. His PhD degree is from Vanderbilt University.

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More About Mark A. Noll

Mark A. Noll Mark A. Noll (born 1946) is a historian specializing in the history of Christianity in the United States. He holds the position of Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame. Noll himself is a Reformed evangelical Christian, and in 2005 was named by Time Magazine as one of the twenty-five most influential evangelicals in America.

Noll is a graduate of Wheaton College, Illinois (B.A, English), the University of Iowa (M.A., English), Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (M.A., Church History and Theology), and Vanderbilt University (Ph.D, History of Christianity). Before coming to Notre Dame he was on the faculty at Wheaton College, Illinois for twenty-seven years, where he taught in the departments of History and Theology as McManis Professor of Christian Thought. While at Wheaton, Noll also co-founded (with Nathan Hatch) and directed the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals.

Noll is a prolific author and many of his books have earned considerable acclaim within the academic community. In particular, The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, a book about anti-intellectual tendencies within the American evangelical movement, was widely covered in both religious and secular publications. He was awarded a National Humanities Medal in the Oval Office by President George W. Bush in 2006.

Noll, along with other historians such as George Marsden, Nathan O. Hatch, and David Bebbington, has greatly contributed to the world's understanding of evangelical convictions and attitudes, past and present. He has caused many scholars and lay people to realize more deeply the complications inherent in the question, "Is America a Christian nation?" In 1994, he co-signed Evangelicals and Catholics Together, an ecumenical document that expressed the need for greater cooperation between Evangelical and Catholic leaders in the United States.

Since the Fall of 2006, Noll has been a faculty member in Department of History at Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. He replaced the retiring George Marsden as Notre Dame's Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History.Noll stated that the move to Notre Dame has allowed him to concentrate on fewer subjects than his duties at Wheaton had allowed.

Mark A. Noll currently resides in the state of Illinois. Mark A. Noll was born in 1946.

Mark A. Noll has published or released items in the following series...
  1. IVP Classics
  2. Library of Religious Biography
  3. Steven and Janice Brose Lectures in the Civil War Era
  4. Very Short Introductions

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > General   [6817  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Church History > Protestant   [967  similar products]
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Evangelism > General   [2161  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Between Faith and Criticism  Mar 13, 2009
Prior to publishing his general survey on the history of christianity in the United States and Canada, Mark Noll established himself as a reputable scholar by publishing some thoughtful monographs. In 1986 he published Between Faith and Criticism: Evangelicals, Scholarship, and the Bible in America (San Francisco: Harper & Row, Publishers), "a historical essay on evangelical interaction with critical Bible scholarship in America over roughly the last century" (p. 1). As Kent Harold Richards notes, in his introduction to this volume, "Although the Bible emerged from a world distant in time and ethos, it has no rival as a founding document that shapes life in North America" (p. xii). It has fueled our cultural and political, as well as religious, life as a people. So how we understand the Scripture and its inspiration has truly infinite ramifications.
Throughout most of Church history, Christians generally took the Bible as God's Word, fully inspired, historically accurate, clearly understandable in plain propositional language. Early in the 19th century, however, especially in German universities under Hegel's historicizing influence, the Bible came under critical scrutiny and attack. Scholarly battles in Europe, however, hardly intruded into the American churches until well after the Civil War. Thereafter, a few American academicians, often trained in German universities, secured positions in prestigious schools (such as New York's Union Seminary, or Cincinnati's Lane Theological Seminary), and began espousing such notions as the multiple authorship of the Pentateuch and the post-apostolic composition of many New Testament documents.
Such critical positions, however, elicited sturdy resistance from some of the finest biblical scholars in this country, several of whom were quartered in the halls of Princeton Theological Seminary. As Charles Hodge and Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield announced: "'The historical faith of the Church has always been, that all the affirmations of Scripture of all kinds, whether of spiritual doctrine or duty, or of physical or historical fact, or of psychological or philosophical principle, are without any error when the ipsissima verba of the original autographs are ascertained and interpreted in their natural and intended sense'" (p. 19).
In Noll's judgment, conservatives such as Hodge and Warfield possessed what too many of their successors have lacked: scholarly depth and credibility. Certainly they brought to their task firm presuppositions, as do all scholars. But they considered themselves "critical" scholars, open to new evidence, willing to change their minds, able to listen to the European critics' arguments. Thus, in doing battle for the Word, they took to the field adequately prepared and capably armed, accounting themselves worthy knights of the faith, successfully "maintaining the positions articulated in this exchange, and in maintaining them with academic rigor" (p. 27).
The first third of the 20th century, however, witnessed the "decline" of such conservative scholarship. As the field of biblical study became increasingly professionalized, as secularizing universities rather than the seminaries became intellectually dominant in this nation, scholars holding to a high view of Scripture were increasingly ignored as refugees in out-moded, second-rate institutions. Complicating the picture, many conservatives, determined at all costs to oppose "modernism," retreated into the safe bastion of Fundamentalism. Talking largely to themselves, they often failed to read and fully understand their "liberal" or "modernist" foes. Failing to meet them on their own ground, they failed to find a hearing in the academy.
Before the 1910-1915 publication of The Fundamentals, a 12-volume series of slender treatises, "there was no fundamentalist movement" (p. 38), though, of course, there had always been men of "fundamentalist" conviction. Following WWI, however, the modernist/fundamentalist controversy splintered the Protestant community. University-housed intellectuals, joined by mainline denomination's seminary professors and their growing body of graduates, largely ignored the arguments set forth in The Fundamentals, even though some of them were composed by first-rate thinkers such as J.G. Machen, one of the refugees from Princeton who helped launch Westminister Theological Seminary. Meanwhile, the common man, represented by believers such as William Jennings Bryan, the "sub-culture of Fundamentalism" as it's sometimes called, pastors (often without seminary training) and laymen alike, largely disdained the academic world and its "higher criticism" of the Bible. The King James Bible, taken as verbally inspired and inerrant in every detail, read without concern for composition or literary genre, sufficed for salvation and daily guidance.
An interesting "alternative" to the American approach developed in England, 1860-1937, where evangelical Anglicans ably considered continental scholarship without surrendering their confidence in supernaturalism and the Bible's full inspiration. Three of England's finest scholars, "The Cambridge Triumvirate" of Fenton A.J. Hort, B.F. Westcott, and J.B. Lightfoot, renowned for their piety as well as their intelligence, ably defended the integrity of God's Word. They helped prepare a scholarly edition of the New Testament and effectively defused the radical arguments of New Testament critics.
In the United States, beginning in about 1935, evangelical scholars began to "return" to the task of scholarly scriptural study. "Neo-Evangelicals" such as Harold John Ockenga and Carl F.H. Henry, abandoning the insularity of Fundamentalism, insisted on engaging the academic world. Scholarly organizations, such as The Evangelical Theological Society and The Wesleyan Theological Society, encouraged conservative Christians to do serious academic work. The result of their labors, Noll thinks, is significant. Evangelical colleges now encourage first-rate biblical scholarship, prestigious universities now employ evangelical scholars, and evangelical publishers now publish top-of-the-line biblical commentaries.
Despite certain successes, however, there are "contemporary uncertainties." Not all evangelicals appreciate the scholarly work of "evangelical" professors, whose treatment of Scripture violates various Fundamentalists' feelings. Noll fears that "Believing criticism . . . may require a breadth of tradition (to both value and restrain creative scholars), a stability of perspective (to provide revisionist proposals fair, but tough-minded assessment), and a strength of community (to adjust corporately to change), which American evangelicalism does not possess" (p. 167).
However great the difficulty, however, Noll clearly believes we need a "believing criticism," a faithful commitment to the Bible which allows us to openly deal with questions concerning its authorship, transmission, interpretation, etc. Though I share some of Noll's enthusiasm for evangelical scholarship, I'm less sanguine concerning its significance. There's an implied assumption which Noll, in company with many academicians, makes: the Scripture is, ultimately, best interpreted by scholars. In my opinion, scholars' views deserve consideration, but the tested traditions (often rooted more in the judgment of saints and martyrs than scholars) of the Church must guide us in evaluating them.
However one judges Noll's assumptions and conclusions, this book provides much which illuminates the history of Christianity in America. The conflict (basic to the history of my denomination, the Church of the Nazarene) between Fundamentalism's commitment to inerrancy and other Christians' adherence to "plenary inspiration" endures. The anti-intellectualism of many American evangelicals routinely surfaces in cultural and political as well as theological concerns. To understand ourselves, as American evangelicals, reading Noll's work proves useful.


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