Biblical Scholarship and the Church: A Sixteenth-Century Crisis of Authority, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Biblical Scholarship and the Church

A Sixteenth-Century Crisis of Authority, 1st Edition

By Allan K. Jenkins, Patrick Preston


340 pages

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Conflicting claims to authority in relation to the translation and interpretation of the Bible have been a recurrent source of tension within the Christian church, and were a key issue in the Reformation debate. This book traces how the authority of the Septuagint and later that of the Vulgate was called into question by the return to the original languages of scripture, and how linguistic scholarship was seen to pose a challenge to the authority of the teaching and tradition of the church. It shows how issues that remained unresolved in the early church re-emerged in first half of the sixteenth century with the publication of Erasmus’ Greek-Latin New Testament of 1516. After examining the differences between Erasmus and his critics, the authors contrast the situation in England, where Reformation issues were dominant, and Italy, where the authority of Rome was never in question. Focusing particularly on the dispute between Thomas More and William Tyndale in England, and between Ambrosius Catharinus and Cardinal Cajetan in Italy, this book brings together perspectives from biblical studies and church history and provides access to texts not previously translated into English.


’This book, a landmark study of the subject in my judgment, is an excellent example of scholarship, and, despite its technicality, is incredibly informative. I hope it finds its way onto the shelves of many theological libraries and into the hands of students of the sixteenth-century, the Reformation, biblical authority and biblical scholarship. Absolutely essential !’ Theological Book Review ’Jenkins and Preston have provided a clear and detailed account, supplemented by translations of the less accessible documents, of three sixteenth-century controversies about the translation and interpretation of the Bible.’ Journal for the Study of the Old Testament ’This study which is accompanied by an extremely useful collection of documents illustrative of each of the disputes discussed, is both full and lucid. It confronts the issues of authority and intellectual honesty head on in a way which has profound cultural significance. The authority of collective memory now has little credibility, but for centuries it held unchallenged sway. It was at this time, and in these circumstances, that it was first seriously challenged in the modern world.’ Archiv fur Reformationsgeschichte ’The authors have to be congratulated for their richly documented study…’ Sixteenth Century Journal

About the Authors

The Revd Dr Allan K. Jenkins is Senior Lecturer in Old Testament, and Dr Patrick Preston is Visiting Fellow in Church History, both at the University of Chichester, UK.

About the Series

Routledge New Critical Thinking in Religion, Theology and Biblical Studies

The Routledge New Critical Thinking in Religion, Theology and Biblical Studies series brings high quality research monograph publishing back into focus for authors, international libraries, and student, academic and research readers. This open-ended monograph series presents cutting-edge research from both established and new authors in the field. With specialist focus yet clear contextual presentation of contemporary research, books in the series take research into important new directions and open the field to new critical debate within the discipline, in areas of related study, and in key areas for contemporary society.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / General