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SAAP Annual Meeting

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"Secularity and Biblical Literalism: Confronting the Challenge of Epistemological Diversity"

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Andrew Smith
Drexel University
United States

Stephen Carter argues that biblical literalism is predicated on an epistemological position drastically different than that maintained by mainstream scientists inasmuch as it operates on the basis of a “hermeneutic of inerrancy” with respect to the ideas laid out in the Bible. By relying on considerations offered by Charles Taylor and recent sociological studies, I contend that Carter’s thesis is incorrect. The divide between proponents and opponents of biblical literalism is ethical rather than epistemological. Beyond the philosophical implications of my contention, it also displays that deliberative engagement—which depends on shared epistemological norms—between these parties is, in principle, possible.


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