Pastors and scholars today lament the Old Testament’s neglect in the West. But this is nothing new. In the eighteenth century, natural philosopher John Hutchinson witnessed the Old Testament becoming devalued as Scripture. And in his mind, the blame lay with Isaac Newton.
In The Quest to Save the Old Testament, David Ney traces the battle over Scripture during the Enlightenment period. For Hutchinson, critical scholarship’s enchantment with the naturalism of Newton undermined the study of the Old Testament. As cultural forces reshaped biblical interpretation, Hutchinson spawned a movement that sought, above all, to reclaim the Old Testament as Christian Scripture. Hutchinson’s followers sought to be shaped by Scripture, not culture. Rejecting the Newtonian degradation of history, they offered a compelling figural defense of the Old Testament’s doctrinal and moral significance. The Old Testament is the voice of Providence. It is the means of discerning God’s hand at work both in nature and in history.
The Quest to Save the Old Testament is a timely retelling of fateful and faithful attempts to “save” the Old Testament.
This is historical and theological writing at its best.
–Ephraim Radner, professor of historical theology, Wycliffe College at the University of Toronto
...a much‐needed introduction to a crucial and fascinating group, opening up a fuller appreciation of the rich complexity of historical and theological debates in the centuries that followed.
–Jeffrey W. Barbeau, professor of theology, Wheaton College
A fascinating account of an eighteenth-century attempt to reinterpret the Bible and uphold its authority in the face of scientific interpretations of nature.
–Peter Harrison, director, Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Queensland
Studies in Historical and Systematic Theology is a peer-reviewed series of contemporary monographs exploring key figures, themes, and issues in historical and systematic theology from an evangelical perspective.
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David Ney is associate professor of church history at Trinity School of Ministry in Ambridge, Pennsylvania, and coeditor (with Ephraim Radner) of All Thy Lights Combine: Figural Reading in the Anglican Tradition.