Captives of the moral crusaders

November 12, 1999

Mary Warnock asserts that we "cannot any longer honestly believe that (the Bible) is the outcome of one single gigantic revelation". But then Christians never have believed that; perhaps Warnock is thinking of the Koran. The Christian must accept that the Old (and New) Testament scriptures are of diverse authorship and various date, without denying their divine inspiration or their inerrancy.

In a letter in the same issue, Brian Thomas claims that "few, if any, New Testament scholars accept the Star of Bethlehem narrative as historical", regarding it rather as one of Saint Matthew's many "invented" episodes. In other words, most, if not all, exegetes hold the Gospels to be mere fiction, and there is no critical dissent from the modernist position. Thomas must be a very selective reader.

In any discussion of religious matters, there will be differences of opinion, but writers who misunderstand the beliefs of Christianity or who misrepresent the state of Biblical scholarship should not expect us to take their opinions seriously.

Ben Whitworth, Conway library assistant, Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London.

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