Lesson 27B Preview: Keith Wrightson Lecture “Late Medieval Religion and its Critics”; Video “The Battle for the Bible: Wycliffe, Tyndale, and Cranmer”; History Channel “Who Wrote the Bible?” ; William Lane Craig “Were the New Testament Translations Corrupted?”

Prof. Keith Wrightson of Yale University gives us a final glimpse of the British medieval period in Late Medieval Religion and its Critics before we transition in Olson’s next chapter back to the Continent for the Reformation Martin Luther championed in Germany:

The Battle for the Bible: Wycliffe, Tyndale, and Cranmer  This outstanding program covers the English roots of Reformation through the prism of  Bible translations – with key pre-Reformation heroes of the English faith featured:

Who Wrote the Bible? is a History Channel series, uploaded to YouTube, that we will begin in the tenth of the twelve segments with Jerome in the fourth century. You will learn how the textually-focused, historical-critical scholars study the Bible documents and their origins, thereby addressing the question of Who Wrote the Bible? This discipline has also been known as the Higher criticism.

Part Ten

Part Eleven

Part Twelve

Maintaining our focus on the documents composing the Bible, we can turn to William Lane Craig for his answers to the question: Were the New Testament Translations Corrupted?

Bible Verses for Reflection: John 10: 34-36; 1 Thess 2: 13; Heb 4: 12

A Quote for Your Consideration: “I perceived how that it was impossible to establish the lay people in any truth except the Scripture were plainly laid before their eyes in their mother tongue.” William Tyndale

More optional curriculum – Click here for the Bonus: British Witchcraft and Superstition (Keith Wrightson) and  Renaissance Humanism and the Princes, Prof. Martin Bucholz of Loyola University – Chicago.

Questions for Discussion:

1. According to Prof. Wrightson there are two competing views of the Reformation among professional historians: the “old historiography” and the “new historiography”. What do they consist of and what evidence from this period is typically cited by the old school historians of the Reformation vs. the evidence the new school uses to defend their view of the Reformation?

2. What is syncretism and how does Wrightson apply this concept to medieval Christianity?

3. What were the principal accusations and criticisms leveled against parish clergy in the early years of the Reformation? Can you cite at least three mentioned by Wrightson? Who were the sources of these attacks?

4. The video series on William Tyndale tells us that 1522 is a significant date, especially for Lutherans. What happened and why?

5. We have a mystery around a person named William Daltin, a visitor to the University of Wittemberg in 1524. What is this mystery and why is it important in Reformation history? What is the larger story incorporating this elusive figure?

6. Why was Tyndale’s translation received as a revolutionary advancement beyond the previous translations? Can you provide at least three concrete examples of what caused this translation to be so disturbing to Rome?

7. A student in your Sunday school class comments: “I have a Jewish friend who says the number symbolism in the Old Testament is ‘complicated’. He said ‘you need to study the numbers 613, 248, and 365 if you want to understand ancient Judaism’. And then he says, ‘but that’s just the beginning of studying Gematria‘. What was he getting at? What is the big deal about these numbers? And what is Gematria? I am clueless.” How will you respond in light of the video on Who Wrote the Bible?

8. What is William Lane Craig’s point of view on Bible translations and how does he defend this position?

9. A new Christian in your Sunday school class says, “I talked to a religious skeptic at work and he said to me, ‘You Christians claim that the Bible is the inerrant and inspired word of God. But the Bible has errors! If Christ taught that the Bible was inerrant, and most Christians claim he taught it was inerrant, and he said you must follow its rules and admonitions, then doesn’t the presence of obvious errors prove that Jesus was wrong and therefore he couldn’t be divine?’ How will you answer his concerns? [Please go to this page at William Lane Craig’s ReasonableFaith.org for assistance in formulating your answer. If you are not yet registered at this website, please go to this page first so you can access the answer page.]


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