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Philosophy and Religion in Enlightenment BritainNew Case Studies$
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Ruth Savage

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199227044

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199227044.001.0001

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Locke’s proof of the divine authority of Scripture

Locke’s proof of the divine authority of Scripture

(p.56) 3 Locke’s proof of the divine authority of Scripture
Philosophy and Religion in Enlightenment Britain

Victor Nuovo

Oxford University Press

Locke asserts that the Bible is an infallible source of divine revelation, and that human reason has the capability of establishing its authenticity and determining its meaning. But he apparently fails to justify these claims anywhere in his writings, notwithstanding his awareness of serious challenges to biblical authority. This incongruity can be resolved. Locke did offer a proof of the authenticity of the Bible, but it has gone unnoticed because of its form and character. Analogous to natural theological arguments founded on evidence in nature of divine wisdom and power and goodness, his proof is cumulative and scattered among his writings. A principal source is a work by Faustus Socinus, known to Locke. The form of the argument, its strategy, and its occurrence in Locke’s writings are presented in the remaining part of the chapter.

Keywords:   Bible, revelation, reason, biblical interpretation, God, divine wisdom, miracles, Messianic secret, John Locke, Faustus Socinus

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