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Friday, October 12, 2012

Luther's Chronology, Part 6h (Barr – "reasonable", "sensible")

In the last Part 6g of this series (Table of Contents in Part 1), I reviewed the objections of Professor James Barr († 2006) to biblical chronology based on "historical criticism".
Again, these reviews of Barr make use of his four essays:
  1. UBC – Ussher and Biblical Chronology, 1985
  2. BCLS – Biblical Chronology: Legend Or Science?, 1987
  3. LBC – Luther and Biblical Chronology, 1990
  4. PSC – Pre-scientific Chronology, 1999
In this Part 6h, I will cover Barr's insistence that Scripture be "reasonable" and "sensible"... for him.   I highlight in yellow the pertinent wording and in some cases I follow with some comments of mine directly afterward highlighted in green:

UBC, pg 599:
It was actually the assumption that all scripture hung together that forced Ussher at certain points to nullify the extremely probable sense of the text.
*** The "sense" of the text for Professor Barr must only be "sensible" for him and his reason.  Ah, but all Scripture does "hang together", for "scripture cannot be broken". John 10:35. Sorry, Professor Barr. Archbishop Ussher showed he had some claim to Protestantism where he did hold to the infallible Scriptures. ***



LBC, pg 55:

Luther's solution to this question [of Abraham's birth date] is undoubtedly right; it shows common sense and critical ability, while the alternative position as adopted by Calvin and Ussher makes literary nonsense of the Genesis passages.

*** Luther is praised here, not because he gives priority to the O.T. chronology, but because he acknowleges that the Book of Acts had an "error". It wasn't common sense or critical ability... it was his faith, faith in the Holy Scriptures. Barr will not allow this, but he will allow that the Book of Acts had an "error". ***



LBC, pg 56:
Common sense, so wholesomely present in Luther's handling of Abraham's birth, is as conspicuously absent from this proposal. ... Luther... was taking a most unreasonable stand.
*** The doctrine of universal grace is unreasonable also to Prof. Barr, the Calvinist. ***

LBC, pg 56:
[Luther] was introducing a principle of omission because of evil-doing that must undermine all certainty in biblical chronology,
*** James Barr, the great protector of "biblical chronology"!  No, not Luther, but James Barr protects the certainty of "biblical chronology", especially from the likes of Martin Luther.  Rubbish!  Barr's certainty is based on his own definition of "reasonable, sensible" scholarship, not what the Bible says. ***

LBC, pg 58:
Luther's sensible solution to the question of Abraham's birth shortened by sixty years...
      *** As opposed to Luther's insensible solution of interregna and other hypotheses... ***

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
Franz Pieper also speaks much about what is "reasonable" and "sensible" for a Christian reader of his Bible.  Drawing on Walther's work, he said (Christian Dogmatics, vol. 1, page 310):
... as a natural, rational observation of the creation reveals God as its Creator (Rom. 1:18 ff.), so, too, a natural, rational study of Holy Scripture points to God as its author. 
By this we see that Prof. James Barr, and all modern theologians and scholars, are actually unnatural in their observations and study... they are unnatural and irrational in their criticism of Holy Scriptures.

In the next Part 6i, I will cover Barr's comments against Luther's use of Daniel's prophecy of the Seventy Weeks.

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