Biblicism, an approach to the Bible common among some American evangelicals, emphasizes together the Bible's exclusive authority, infallibility, clarity, self-sufficiency, internal consistency, self-evident meaning, and universal applicability. Acclaimed sociologist Christian Smith argues that this approach is misguided and unable to live up to its own claims. If evangelical biblicism worked as its proponents say it should, there would not be the vast variety of interpretive differences that biblicists themselves reach when they actually read and interpret the Bible. Far from challenging the inspiration and authority of Scripture, Smith critiques a particular rendering of it, encouraging evangelicals to seek a more responsible, coherent, and defensible approach to biblical authority.
This important book has generated lively discussion and debate. The paperback edition adds a new chapter responding to the conversation that the cloth edition has sparked.
The Paradox of Generosity: Giving We Receive, Grasping We Lose
Determining why, when, and to whom people feel compelled to be generous affords invaluable insight into positive and problematic ways of life. Organ donation, volunteering, and the funding of charities can all be illuminated by sociological and…
The Sacred Project of American Sociology
Counter to popular perceptions, contemporary American sociology is and promotes a profoundly sacred project at heart. Sociology today is in fact animated by sacred impulses, driven by sacred commitments, and serves a sacred project. Sociology…
Moral, Believing Animals: Human Personhood and Culture
What kind of animals are human beings? And how do our visions of the human shape our theories of social action and institutions? In Moral, Believing Animals, Christian Smith advances a creative theory of human persons and culture that offers…
To Flourish or Destruct
In his 2010 book What Is a Person?, Christian Smith argued that sociology had for too long neglected this fundamental question. Prevailing social theories, he wrote, do not adequately “capture our deep subjective experience as…
Evangelicalism is one of the strongest religious traditions in America today; 20 million Americans identify themselves with the evangelical movement. Given the modern pluralistic world we live in, why is evangelicalism so popular? …
Religion has long played a central role in many social and political movements. Solidarity in Poland, anti-apartheid in South Africa, Operation Rescue in the United States--each of these movements is driven by the energy and sustained by the…
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