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Biblical Fundamentalism: What Every Catholic Should Know [Paperback]

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Item Specifications...

Pages   90
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.25" Width: 5.42" Height: 0.37"
Weight:   0.3 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 1, 2001
Publisher   Liturgical Press
ISBN  0814627226  
EAN  9780814627228  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Biblical fundamentalism remains a thorny pastoral problem. Not only do some fundamentalists attack the Catholic Church as anti-Bible, but also some fundamentalists attitudes have crept into Catholic circles and have begun to erode authentic Catholic teaching on the Bible. This book provides an overview of the origins, history, basic tenets, and problems with biblical fundamentalism and its influence in contemporary culture. It summarizes Catholic teaching on the Bible and points out both strengths and weaknesses in the fundamentalist approach to the Bible.

Publishers Description

2002 Catholic Press Association Award Winner

One of the most significant changes initiated by the Second Vatican Council was the direct encouragement for Catholics to rediscover the Bible. Unfortunately, education has lagged behind Catholic interest in exploring the Bible and its mysteries. Consequently, vital questions, including how to read and interpret the Bible, remain unanswered for many Christians. In "Biblical Fundamentalism, " Father Ronald Witherup offers Catholics a guide to the questions that arise when they desire to use the good book" in their personal lives.

Father Witherup provides an overview of the origins, history, basic tenets, and problems with biblical fundamentalism and its influence in contemporary culture. He summarizes Catholic teaching on the Bible and points out both the strengths and the weaknesses in the fundamentalist approach to the Bible. He also provides a concise but thorough response to questions that Catholics have about fundamentalism and discusses resources for further study.

"Biblical Fundamentalism" is divided into five chapters. The first chapter explains the historical origins of Christian biblical fundamentalism and why it is a uniquely American phenomenon. The second chapter outlines the main tenets of fundamentalist faith and how it approached the Bible. The third chapter does the same for the Catholic faith. The fourth chapter explores why biblical fundamentalism is attractive in our day and offers a critique of it. Finally, the fifth chapter imparts some practical advice about how to fashion a sensible (and courteous) Catholic response to fundamentalism.

Chapters are *The Origins of Biblical Fundamentalism, - *Bible Basics: A Fundamentalist Approach to the Bible, - *Bible Basics: A Catholic Approach to the Bible, - *Evaluating Fundamentalism, - and *A Catholic Response to Fundamentalism. -

"Ronald D. Witherup, SS, PhD, is Provincial of the U.S. Province of Supicians and former academic professor of Sacred Scripture at St. Patrick's Seminary in Menlo Park, California. He holds a doctorate in biblical studies from Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia. He is the author of "Conversion in the New Testament, a liturgist's Guide to Inclusive Language, "and is a contributor to "The Collegeville Pastoral Dictionary of Biblical Theology."

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More About Ronald D. Witherup

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! RONALD D. WITHERUP, S.S., is provincial superior of the U.S. Province of the Society of St. Sulpice. He formerly served as professor of sacred Scripture and academic dean at St. Patrick Seminary in Menlo Park, California. His books include "101 Questions and Answers on Paul" (Paulist) and "Rediscovering Vatican II: Scripture: Dei Verbum" (Paulist).

Ronald D. Witherup was born in 1950.

Ronald D. Witherup has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Zacchaeus Studies

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Excellent Resource  Feb 22, 2006
I urge all readers and reviewers to disregard the review from "a reader" entitled "A Very Shallow Book." Witherup's book is dead on accurate. I have first-hand reason to know. I'm an ex-evangelical/fundamentalist who converted to the Roman Catholic faith four years ago. Everything Witherup says about fundamentalism, especially the manner in which it approaches scripture, is true. The reviewer makes the absurd assertion that Witherup hasn't taken the time to TRY to understand fundamentalism. On the contrary, as someone who came out of fundamentalism, I can attest he understands it quite thoroughly. The only reason I didn't give it five stars is I wish Witherup had gone into more details, specifically on the subject of how scriptures are interpreted and applied to daily living by fundamentalists and how their approach so often leads to erroneous conclusions about what the Bible says. For example, in Proverbs, it says "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging and whosoever is decieved thereby is not wise." Fundamentalists use this scripture as the basis for their contention that any alcohol consumption is sinful. But that passage doesn't specifically say it's wrong to drink alcohol. You can't get "Thou shalt not drink any alcoholic beverage of any kind, any time or anywhere" out of "Wine is a mocker" unless you're reading something into that passage that just isn't there. I could go on with countless examples of how fundamentalists misinterpret, misuse and misapply scripture, many of which would be from my own personal experiences. But that is beyond the scope and intent of this review. Suffice to say, if you want a quick and short resource to refute fundamentalism's approach, Witherup's book is an excellent start, especially if you're a "Cradel Catholic" and find yourself speechless when confronted with fundamentalist "arguments."
Educational for people who want to understand the Church  Dec 14, 2004
This is one of the best books I've read that explains the Catholic view of the Bible and the difference from fundamentalists or Evangelical Christians. This book is especially informative to the educated, thinkers, and people who have a hard time with religion in the modern world. What I enjoyed most was that the book showed what the Bible is really about and portrays that not every Christian is ignorant and anti-science. Many people that use reason as part of their faith want to go to church without committing intellectual suicide. This book is a good place to start. ( Also check Marcus Borg)
A good start: Here, private communication from author  Oct 21, 2003
I read the other reviews and I succeeded in one email exchange with the author.

The author's goal was an introduction, a brief but concise comparison of fundamentalist and Catholic views on the Bible. He has succeeded in making the basic distinction. I think and told him that he doesn't offer alternative interpretations to the texts of Scripture where the greatest differences exist with fundamentalists.

Catholic biblical scholarship indeed comes across as a type of modernism, disrespecting centuries of Catholic Church teaching and precedent.

He satisfies himself to paint a fairly accurate picture of the fundamentalists' view of scripture and then offers a thumbnail sketch of the Catholic view, without many specifics. By email, he referred me to the (mostly Catholic) bibliography of his book for further information.

I take exception to one of his more controversial assertions, That fundamentalists tend to canonize social relationships in the bible that in fact were simply accidents of their historical context. In other words, the subservient position of women in the bible is not a precept of the bible, but just a reflection of the times of the writer. This idea is clearly stated as a difference of Catholics and Fundamentalists, but it is poorly motivated.

By private communication he says: "The Bible does not contain fiction (as we moderns would define it) as such, but not everything in the Bible is history either. Your examples of Jonah or Ruth or Esther are narrative stories with various moral and/or heroic themes in them, and Genesis 1-11 is myth (not fiction) with an important theological perspective to it. "Myth" here does not mean an untrue story but a narrative with a profoundly true message, couched in ordinary story language. Fundamentalists, too, can recognize that some stories are not meant to be literally true (they are not all literalists), depending on the literary genre of the story, though they tend to read Gen 1-11 as historically and scientifically true, in contrast to non-fundamentalist approaches."

A very shallow book  Apr 8, 2002
Coming from a conservative evangelical Protestant viewpoint, I was really curious to see what a Catholic priest and seminary professor might say about fundamentalism. Unfortunately, I have to report not only that Witherup had nothing intelligent to say, he wasn't even intelligible.

Indeed, to criticize something you haven't even taken the time to TRY to understand takes something truly special. And Witherup's ignorance and arrogance are truly special. After 86 pages, I know what Witherup thinks about lots of things, but I can't tell if he's ever read a single book by a fundamentalist. Apart from a passing reference to a fifteen-year-old title by Jerry Falwell, Witherup doesn't interact with -- or even show any awareness of -- even one of the many conservative fundamentalist or evangelical biblical scholars.

Men like Don Carson, Greg Beale, Doug Moo, Gordon Hugenberger, Moises Silva, John Walton, Walter Elwell, Bruce Waltke, Walt Kaiser, Leon Morris, Gleason Archer, Scott Hafemann etc. may all uphold the highest and strictest views on biblical inspiration and inerrancy (not unlike Pope Leo XIII & Pius XII), but they also have doctorates from Harvard, Oxford, Cambridge, Tubingen, Yale, Princeton etc. And unlike Witherup's shallow and superficial output of 6 "pop" articles, these scholars have published serious commentaries and scholarly monographs.

Sadly, the fact that Donald Senior would recommend this book may suggest that Witherup's combination of arrogance and ignorance may not be so rare, after all, at least within that narrow clerical clique of aging Catholic biblical dissidents. To imagine that the Sulpicians have sunk to this level -- Raymond Brown must be rolling over in his grave.

Superficial and dishonest analysis  Mar 26, 2002
As a Catholic theologian and ordained clergyman, I am embarrassed by this sort of superficial analysis. This is not a sincere attempt at establishing a serious dialogue, but a cheap caricature. Moreover, the author's own views are presented as though they reflect Catholic tradition. Instead, they reflect Catholic modernism, thinly veiled. I accept historical criticism and the legitimate gains made by modern scholars, but the view of Scripture in this book is much closer to liberal protestantism than to the Church's official teaching. Fundamentalism serves as a convenient surrogate for attacking the Church's own high view of inspiration and inerrancy. What a shame. And a sham.

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