Date of Award

Spring 1997

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




In the fall of 1977 I was first exposed to a historical critical approach to the New Testament. I took a course entitled "The Christian Church in New Testament Times" at Indiana University under a fine Pauline scholar, J. Paul Sampley. Sampley did an excellent job of introducing us to the academic study of the Bible and to Christianity generally. I had been raised, however, to read scripture through the lens of the rationalistic theology of the Campbellite movement in America--which was highly indebted to Lockian philosophy and Scottish Common Sense Realism. I had been taught--in a way similar to Hans Küng's experience with Neo-Scholastic thinking in the late 1940's and early 1950's-that I had to have a reason for believing in the God of the Bible. From the perspective of my tradition's reliance on epistemological presuppositions of the Enlightenment, this meant that the God of the Bible had to conform to a universal standard of reason. This standard was consistency between a literal reading of the Bible and modern scientific and historical theories. Sampley's approach to scripture showed me that such a consistency was impossible. In effect, this destroyed my reason for belief. For the next several years I not only questioned the rationalism in which I was raised, I also struggled to believe in God...



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