One of the most significant changes initiated by the Second Vatican Council was the direct encouragement for Catholics to rediscover the Bible. Unfortunately, education has lagged behind Catholic interest in exploring the Bible and its mysteries. Consequently, vital questions, including how to read and interpret the Bible, remain unanswered for many Christians. In Biblical Fundamentalism, Father Ronald Witherup offers Catholics a guide to the questions that arise when they desire to use 'the good book' in their personal lives.
Father Witherup provides an overview of the origins, history, basic tenets, and problems with biblical fundamentalism and its influence in contemporary culture. He summarizes Catholic teaching on the Bible and points out both the strengths and the weaknesses in the fundamentalist approach to the Bible. He also provides a concise but thorough response to questions that Catholics have about fundamentalism and discusses resources for further study.
Biblical Fundamentalism is divided into five chapters. The first chapter explains the historical origins of Christian biblical fundamentalism and why it is a uniquely American phenomenon. The second chapter outlines the main tenets of fundamentalist faith and how it approached the Bible. The third chapter does the same for the Catholic faith. The fourth chapter explores why biblical fundamentalism is attractive in our day and offers a critique of it. Finally, the fifth chapter imparts some practical advice about how to fashion a sensible (and courteous) Catholic response to fundamentalism.
Chapters are “The Origins of Biblical Fundamentalism,” “Bible Basics: A Fundamentalist Approach to the Bible,” “Bible Basics: A Catholic Approach to the Bible,” “Evaluating Fundamentalism,” and “A Catholic Response to Fundamentalism.”
Ronald D. Witherup, PSS, PhD, is Provincial of the U.S. Province of Supicians and former academic professor of Sacred Scripture at St. Patrick's Seminary in Menlo Park, California. He holds a doctorate in biblical studies from Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia. He is the author of Conversion in the New Testament, A Liturgist's Guide to Inclusive Language, and is a contributor to The Collegeville Pastoral Dictionary of Biblical Theology.