Mark Noll

Anthropologists Discover the Bible

Cross-cultural studies of “biblicism.”

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They do, however, make it possible when speaking of the influence of Scripture to move from the romantic and the abstract to the concrete and the particular. Those of us who are already lining up for the 2011 celebration of the KJV should read and heed.

Mark Noll is Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History at the University of Notre Dame. He is the author most recently of The New Shape of World Christianity: How American Experience Reflects Global Faith (InterVarsity Press).

1. The New York Times, April 27, 1911, p. 8.

2. The Century Magazine, Vol. 82, No. 1 (May 1911), pp. 148-49.

3. Theodore Roosevelt, "The Bible and the Life of the People," in Realizable Ideals (Books for Libraries, 1969 [orig. 1911]), p. 69.

4. "Biblicism" is not used disparagingly here, but as a word trying to encompass beliefs about the Bible, strategies of interpreting the Bible, ways of putting biblical words to use, and treatment of Bibles as physical objects.

5. Joel Robbins, Becoming Sinners: Christianity and Moral Torment in a Papua New Guinea Society (Univ. of California Press, 2004); "The Anthropology of Christianity," special issue of Religion, Vol. 33 (2003).

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