Quest to Save the Old Testament
Mathematics, Hieroglyphics, and Providence in Enlightenment England
OverviewEnlightenment attempts to save the Old Testament
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.