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Archive for September 2nd, 2013

Scripture and tradition Edith M. Humphrey

This is a book that explores the relationship between Scripture and tradition by Edith M. Humphrey, a professor of the New Testament at Pittsburg Theological Seminary.  Although written largely with an Evangelical Protestant audience in mind, Humphrey is currently Eastern Orthodox though her upbringing was in the Salvation Army.  There were things with the book that I agreed and disagreed.

The Good

The biggest take away for me is the fact that Christians must not have an over-reaction and assume that all church tradition is automatically a bad thing that undermines the Gospel.  Scripture does not support the case that every tradition is automatically wrong or that something is wrong on the basis that it’s oral in its transmission.  I also learned that there are several different approaches among Protestants concerning the relationship between Scripture and tradition.  For instance, in talking about Anglicans she gave the illustration of a tricycle with the main wheel representing Scripture and tradition and reason as “supporting” back wheels; she also talked about the Methodists’ so called “Wesleyan Quadrilateral” of Scripture, tradition, reason and experience.

Further Thoughts

I wished she could have talked more about her doctrine of the Bible more, seeing that the title is “Scripture and tradition.”  For instance, how does her stance for or against the sufficiency of Scripture shape one’s view of the use of traditions?  While she does go over what the Bible has to say about “traditions,” that is, things handed down orally, I wondered how does this shape Scripture’s relationship to “tradition” once the Canon of the New Testament was closed in her view and her arguments in support of it.  I suppose she would allow a larger role of the place of traditions than I would.

Over all I enjoyed the book even knowing before hand I wasn’t gong to agree with everything she said.  I certainly won’t be a knee-jerk anti-traditionalist, or accept everything in the name of Church history either.

(Available on Amazon by clicking HERE)

NOTE: This book is provided to me free by Baker Academic and Net Galley without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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