The Erosion of Biblical Certainty

9781137299659“Historians commonly agree that the understanding of the Bible as a supernatural text conveying both spiritual and historical truths came under devastating assaults from the natural sciences and German historical critics in the 1800s. According to this account, by the latter years of that century, the image of the Bible as a supernaturally inspired and infallible text eventually crumbled in the eyes of many intellectuals under the relentless opposition of secularizing forces. This book corrects this narrative by arguing that in America, the road to skepticism was unintentionally paved by the Scriptures’ most able and ardent defenders. From the eighteenth to the first half of the nineteenth century, theologically conservative Americans defended the Bible from critical attacks. However, the Bible’s defenders altered their conceptions of revelation to preserve their faith in light of changing standards of plausibility. In doing so, they gradually yet radically undermined their traditional understanding of Holy Writ by denuding it of its supernatural nature. Thus, skeptics were not responsible for knocking the Bible off of its pedestal; the fault lies with the Scriptures’ orthodox apologists.” Click here to view or purchase the book.


About the author:

LeeHSDr. Lee is an assistant professor in the history department and offers courses on early American history.  In the Templeton Honors College, he teaches Western Civilization 4: The American Mind. Dr. Lee grew up in Maryland and attended Yale University for his undergraduate education. While there, he developed an interest in European intellectual history. After college, Dr. Lee was awarded the DeWitt-Wallace Fellowship which allowed him to teach European History at the Concord Academy (Concord, MA). After teaching for two years, he attended Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (South Hamilton, MA), where he earned a MA in Church History. He then went to graduate school at the University of Notre Dame (South Bend, IN) where he earned a Ph.D. in history. He has been teaching at Eastern University since 2010. Dr. Lee is an intellectual historian, with a particular focus on the development of religion and theology in Europe and America during the early modern era. He has authored The Erosion of Biblical Certainty: Battles over Authority and Interpretation in America (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013) and his articles have been published in The New England Quarterly and The History of Education Quarterly. He is currently working on a book on the history of theodicy (or the history of the problem of evil). When he is not at work or spending time with this family, Dr. Lee likes to bicycle through the wooded trails and roads of Pennsylvania.