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The Inspiration and Interpretation of Scripture
What the Early Church Can Teach Us
PAPERBACK; Published: 2/15/2014
ISBN: 978-0-8028-6963-0
209 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6 x 9

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DESCRIPTION
Concise yet detailed exploration of how early Christians viewed the inspiration of Scripture

What is true of Scripture as a result of being inspired? What should divine inspiration cause us to expect from it? The answers to these questions in the early church related not just to the nature of Scripture's truth claims but to the manner in which Scripture was to be interpreted.

In this book Michael Graves delves into what Christians in the first five centuries believed about the inspiration of Scripture, identifying the ideas that early Christians considered to be logical implications of biblical inspiration. Many books presume to discuss how some current trend relates to the "traditional" view of biblical inspiration; this one actually describes in a detailed and nuanced way what the "traditional" view is and explores the differences between ancient and modern assumptions on the topic.

Accessible and engaging, The Inspiration and Interpretation of Scripture presents a rich network of theological ideas about the Bible together with critical engagement with the biblical text.
REVIEWS
Andrews University Seminary Studies
"The importance of this study should not be underestimated."
Christopher A. Hall
— Palmer Theological Seminary
"Interpreting the Bible well is a daunting and difficult task, one that requires wise mentors in the faith from both the past and the present. Michael Graves is a wise, learned, perceptive guide who knows the church fathers well; this wonderful book will help modern readers understand the rhyme and reason of ancient Christian perspectives on inspiration and interpretation. Highly recommended."
Mark W. Elliott
— University of St. Andrews
"Michael Graves's research is painstaking — his endnotes here show a depth of endeavor and learning — yet he has a sharp, even provocative thesis: the church fathers saw scriptural inspiration to be about God speaking through the Bible to each reader 'at sundry times and in divers manners.'. . . A gripping scholarly work that combines learning with praxis, historical theology with self-reflection."
Markus Bockmuehl
— University of Oxford
"Drawing on the resources of the early church, Michael Graves takes an interestingly textured approach to the abiding questions surrounding a theology of scripture. . . . Anyone who cares about the subject matter will welcome this book's fresh and engaging attention to the early church's hermeneutical diversity."
Peter Enns
— Eastern University
"In this concise and readable volume, Michael Graves navigates the diverse and complex landscape of the nature and use of Scripture among the church's earliest theologians. His engaging account invites readers of Scripture today neither to pillage the ancients for our own agenda, nor to ignore them to our poverty, but to converse with them along our own contemporary hermeneutical journey. A much-needed entry point to the sometimes bewildering world of ancient Christian interpreters, this book will prove to be of great value for addressing any number of interpretive issues that beset the church today."
D. H. Williams
— Baylor University
"A most learned and realistic assessment of scriptural authority and use in the patristic era. Steeped in primary sources, Graves invites us to enter the interpretive world of the ancients instead of making them suit our expectations."
Church Times
"This is a beautifully written book, and a fresh contribution to a debate that can sometimes feel a little stale."
CBA Retailers & Resources
"Do not be intimidated by the title of Michael Graves's new book. . . . This well-researched book explores the differences between ancient and modern assumptions on Scriptural inspiration by studying what Christians in the first five centuries believed. Written primarily for academics, it takes what some might consider a mundane topic and makes it interesting. Recommend this book to pastors, theological educators, and customers that want to delve extensively into the differences between ancient and modern views of biblical inspiration."
Jesus Creed
"Graves's book is one of those heavyweight studies that will certainly please the academician. Nevertheless, it has a vital message for the church as well. . . . Graves's message needs to be heard — not just by theorists in the ivory tower, but by the practitioners of biblical exposition who serve the people of God. . . . An extremely important work of pastoral technique disguised as a scholarly history."
Mission Today
"A timely and useful contribution."
Choice
"One of the volume's strengths is that Graves consistently contextualizes his topic by referencing Greco-Roman pagan and rabbinic textual interpreters who also were committed to the inspiration of their texts, and who face interpretive challenges similar to those of early Christians. Related strengths are Graves's mastery of a variety of sources and his ability to discuss them with clarity. . . . Recommended."
Spirit & Life
"Discerning readers who are interested in exploring scriptural matters will find Graves' book worth their time and attention."
Reviews in Religion & Theology
"Drawing on extensive analysis of patristic sources, Michael Graves engages with their various takes on the notion of the divine inspiration of Scripture in an attempt to discern what the implications of this might be for contemporary ecclesial practice. . . . There is much here to commend."
Marturo
"A fine study in both historical and practical theology."
Restoration Quarterly
"In a religious climate where the definition of inspiration has the potential of dividing churches or universities, Michael Graves's recent work is a timely piece. . . . Graves helps readers wrestle with the diversity present in ancient Christian views of inspiration and the implications of such diverse views for today."

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