Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Reformation and the Bible: against individualism

Having enjoyed that last post and returned to work, I thought I'd give the 123 thing a go on the next book I picked up. Again, a typical statement from a frequent source of quotes on this blog. It was also no surprise, given the small size of the volume and the infamous verbosity of the author, that by the 10th sentence of page 123, you're on page 124.

Initially, the Reformation was an attempt to put the Bible at the heart of the Church again – to give it into the hands of private readers. The Bible was to be seen as a public document, the charter of the Church's life; all believers should have access to it because all would need to know the common language of the Church and the standards by which the Church argued about theology and behaviour. The huge Bibles that were chained up in English churches in the sixteenth century were there as a sign of this. It was only as the rapid development of cheap printing advanced that the Bible as a single affordable volume came to be within everyone's reach as something for individuals to possess and study in private. The leaders of the Reformation would have been surprised to be associated with any move to encourage anyone and everyone to form their own conclusions about the Bible. For them, it was once again a text to be struggled with in the context of prayer and shared reflection.
Eight points for guessing the author; ten for the book.

11 comments:

Anthony Douglas said...

Infamous verbosity made me instantly think of O'Donovan... no idea why...

byron smith said...

No, OO'D is a veritable bastion of brevity in comparison...

...OK, so he's not. But it's not him.

Anthony Douglas said...

That explains why my minimal reading of O'Donovan is still greater than my efforts with Rowan Williams.

Though 'book' puzzles me - Google tells me it's an article from Christian Century entitled 'In God's Company: What is the Church?'

Ah. It's also part of 'Tokens of Trust: An Introduction to Christian Belief'

Me, I trust the power of Google too...

byron smith said...

I should have checked that it wasn't already on the web. Sigh. Eighteen points. I need to think of more creative ways of stopping you from taking all the points.

byron smith said...

You've just passed 500, by the way...

Moffitt the Prophet said...

Any points for mentioning David Jones, Williams co-author?

byron smith said...

Not sure I'd call him a co-author. He's an artist and Williams uses his images frequently in the book. Since you must have picked up that little piece of info of a website, rather than firsthand, I won't give you any points. Instead, I'll give you a tip: go and read the book. It's worth it. :-)

Moffitt the Prophet said...

What if I was to say which the book in the picture is the bible?

byron smith said...

That's too easy - it's printed right there in Latin at the top of the page. Trickier is picking the passage (and verse) I had in mind when I opened it there. Hint: the English Bible underneath is open to the same passage.

Moffitt the Prophet said...

Isaiah 55.11?

byron smith said...

Yep. I didn't specify whether or how many points for that one. I'll give you four, since it's pretty much just a matter of trying to read the fuzzy writing in the English Bible.