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Biblical Fundamentalism: What Every Catholic Should Know Paperback – October, 2001

4.2 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Here is a clearly written volume that summarizes what every Catholic needs to know about fundamentalism and the Bible. Those who read it appreciate anew the genius of Catholicism and its interpretation of the Bible.
Frank J. Matera, Professor of New Testament, The Catholic University of America


This is an important book. Father Witherup offers all interested Christians, especially Roman Catholics, a much needed, readable, intelligible, intelligent, and reliable study of biblical fundamentalism. Readers will learn much, so that they will understand how to evaluate and know how to relate to this kind of religious attitude in its multiple manifestations. This study is particularly helpful for those who are interested in serious study of Scripture.
Marion L. Soards, Professor of New Testament Studies, Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky


Biblical fundamentalism poses a real threat to Roman Catholics and their view of the Scriptures. With the learning and good judgment that comes from serious study and wide experience, Fr. Witherup responds to the threat and exposes the inadequacies of fundamentalism. His real interest, however, is in showing Catholics how to read the Bible in the traditional Christian way, a way that engages their interest and deepens their faith. I highly recommend this book.
Richard J. Clifford, S.J., Professor of Bible, Weston Jesuit School of Theology


With knowledge, insight, and pastoral sensitivity, Witherup explains what biblical fundamentalists and Roman Catholics believe - where they agree and where they differ. . . . He invites Catholics to discover a more dynamic biblical faith within their own tradition, demonstrating how for them, too, the Bible can come alive in ways that are relevant for their daily lives.
Mark Allan Powell, Trinity Lutheran Seminary, Columbus, Ohio


At a time when literal interpretations of the Scriptures have become a significant part of contemporary social culture, Witherup provides Catholics with answers to many of the questions posed by evangelical fundamentalism. Through his primary focus is biblical interpretation, he offers a fine summary of various manifestations of religious fundamentalism. In addition to his clear explanation of this complex and challenging phenomenon, he suggests both 'do's' and 'don'ts' for dealing with it. Witherup's honest and insightful treatment is both informative and pastoral in its implications. It should lay to rest the concerns of many even as it stimulates their interests.
Dianne Bergant, C.S.A., Professor of Old Testament Studies, Catholic Theological Union


There are few pastoral resources that could be more welcome than this. Anyone who has had to deal with biblical fundamentalism - in their parish, in their family, or at the office - will be grateful for this thorough, thoughtful, and pastorally sensitive approach to the issue. Catholic readers will find here what fundamentalism entails, how it differs from Catholic teaching, and ways to deal in a Christian spirit with fundamentalists themselves.
Donald Senior, C.P., President, Catholic Theological Union


. . . you distill down top-notch contemporary scholarship into a readable and easily-digestible form, appropriate for parish groups or introductory college classes.
Murray Watson, Pontificio Collegio Canadese, Rome, Italy


This is a very helpful and appropriate work for anyone living in our pluralistic society.
Liguorian

About the Author

Ronald D. Witherup, PSS, is superior general of the Sulpicians, an order of diocesan priests dedicated to initial and ongoing formation of priests. He holds a doctorate in biblical studies and is the author of numerous books and articles on Scripture, including The Word of God at Vatican II: Exploring Dei Verbum, Gold Tested in Fire: A New Pentecost for the Catholic Priesthood, and Biblical Fundamentalism, What Every Catholic Should Know, published by Liturgical Press. He is also a contributor to Give Us This Day, published by Liturgical Press.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 104 pages
  • Publisher: Liturgical Press (October 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814627226
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814627228
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.4 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #994,079 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I urge all readers and reviewers to disregard the review from "a reader" entitled "A Very Shallow Book." Witherup's book is dead on accurate. I have first-hand reason to know. I'm an ex-evangelical/fundamentalist who converted to the Roman Catholic faith four years ago. Everything Witherup says about fundamentalism, especially the manner in which it approaches scripture, is true. The reviewer makes the absurd assertion that Witherup hasn't taken the time to TRY to understand fundamentalism. On the contrary, as someone who came out of fundamentalism, I can attest he understands it quite thoroughly. The only reason I didn't give it five stars is I wish Witherup had gone into more details, specifically on the subject of how scriptures are interpreted and applied to daily living by fundamentalists and how their approach so often leads to erroneous conclusions about what the Bible says. For example, in Proverbs, it says "Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging and whosoever is decieved thereby is not wise." Fundamentalists use this scripture as the basis for their contention that any alcohol consumption is sinful. But that passage doesn't specifically say it's wrong to drink alcohol. You can't get "Thou shalt not drink any alcoholic beverage of any kind, any time or anywhere" out of "Wine is a mocker" unless you're reading something into that passage that just isn't there. I could go on with countless examples of how fundamentalists misinterpret, misuse and misapply scripture, many of which would be from my own personal experiences. But that is beyond the scope and intent of this review. Suffice to say, if you want a quick and short resource to refute fundamentalism's approach, Witherup's book is an excellent start, especially if you're a "Cradel Catholic" and find yourself speechless when confronted with fundamentalist "arguments."
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Format: Paperback
This is one of the best books I've read that explains the Catholic view of the Bible and the difference from fundamentalists or Evangelical Christians. This book is especially informative to the educated, thinkers, and people who have a hard time with religion in the modern world. What I enjoyed most was that the book showed what the Bible is really about and portrays that not every Christian is ignorant and anti-science. Many people that use reason as part of their faith want to go to church without committing intellectual suicide. This book is a good place to start. ( Also check Marcus Borg)
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A good read that's easy to understand and does not throw more coals onto the fire when discussing the differences between fundamentalists and Catholics. Tragically, many fundamentalists are unwittingly led astray by interpretating The Bible w/out historical context, as well as reading it from a literal point of view. Fundamentalism can be a dangerous approach to Christianity, however there are some pros to it, yet there are too many cons for it to be considered appropriate. Buy and read this book if you want to understand the differences between Catholics and fundamentalists; of course written in charity.
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I bought this book primarily to get a perspective around the 'Catholic bashing' going on in the world today by those who take a legalistic approach to the bible. This book explains in simple terms 'why'. I have noticed that bible fundamentalists tend to 'attack' Roman Catholicism the most from my experience and wanted to understand. This book and another led me to start reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church, where there is a lot to read and digest, but lends to even greater understanding of Roman Catholicism.
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This is an excellent summary of Fundamentalism vis-a-vis Catholic beliefs; I strongly recommend it for any interested layman or laywoman who wants a concise reference. The writing is intelligent, succinct, accessible for readers of all levels and experience. Would make a great gift.
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Book offers several sound perspectives and basis for fundamental perspectives.
Presents a good juxtaposition of the Catholic faith and Christian fundamentalism.
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By A Customer on January 28, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent book. It gives a good perspective of Fundamentalist and Catholic beliefs. It is for members of both faiths who want to learn more about the faith of each other.

It is well written by a highly educated man. I believe members of both faiths would benefit from reading this book.
Greg
Danville Holy Family Parish
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I read the other reviews and I succeeded in one email exchange with the author.
The author's goal was an introduction, a brief but concise comparison of fundamentalist and Catholic views on the Bible. He has succeeded in making the basic distinction. I think and told him that he doesn't offer alternative interpretations to the texts of Scripture where the greatest differences exist with fundamentalists.
Catholic biblical scholarship indeed comes across as a type of modernism, disrespecting centuries of Catholic Church teaching and precedent.
He satisfies himself to paint a fairly accurate picture of the fundamentalists' view of scripture and then offers a thumbnail sketch of the Catholic view, without many specifics. By email, he referred me to the (mostly Catholic) bibliography of his book for further information.
I take exception to one of his more controversial assertions, That fundamentalists tend to canonize social relationships in the bible that in fact were simply accidents of their historical context. In other words, the subservient position of women in the bible is not a precept of the bible, but just a reflection of the times of the writer. This idea is clearly stated as a difference of Catholics and Fundamentalists, but it is poorly motivated.
By private communication he says: "The Bible does not contain fiction (as we moderns would define it) as such, but not everything in the Bible is history either. Your examples of Jonah or Ruth or Esther are narrative stories with various moral and/or heroic themes in them, and Genesis 1-11 is myth (not fiction) with an important theological perspective to it. "Myth" here does not mean an untrue story but a narrative with a profoundly true message, couched in ordinary story language.
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