Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Joint Ph.D. Program in Study of Religion

First Advisor

Theodore M. Vial, Jr., Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Gregory Robbins

Third Advisor

Carrie Doehring

Fourth Advisor

Terrence Tice


Authority, Bible, Inspiration, Rationalist, Revelation, Supernaturalist


This dissertation examines Friedrich Schleiermacher’s understanding of biblical authority and argues that, as an alternative to strictly supernaturalistic and rationalistic models, his understanding allows the New Testament to speak authoritatively in Christian religion in an age of critical, historical awareness. After classifying Schleiermacher’s position in a typology of the doctrine of biblical authority, this dissertation explores his conception of divine revelation and inspiration vis-à-vis scripture. It demonstrates that although he did not believe there is warrant for the claim of a direct connection between divine revelation and scripture, or that scripture is the foundation of faith, he nonetheless asserted that the New Testament is authoritative. He asserted the normative authority of the New Testament on the basis that it is the first presentation of Christian faith. This dissertation examines Schleiermacher’s “canon within the canon,” as well as his denial that the Old Testament shares the same normative worth and inspiration of the New. Although this dissertation finds difficulty with some of Schleiermacher’s views regarding the Old Testament, it names two significant strengths of what is identified as his evangelical, content-based, and rationalist approach to biblical authority. First, it recognizes and values the co-presence and co-activity of the supernatural and the natural in the production of the New Testament canon. This allows both scripture and the church to share religious authority. Second, it allows Christian faith and the historical-method to coexist, as it does not require people to contradict what they know to be the case about science, history, and philosophy. Thus, this dissertation asserts that Schleiermacher’s understanding of biblical authority is a robust one, since, for him, the authority of scripture does not lie in some property of the texts themselves that historians or unbelievers can take away.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Kerry W. Holton


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

212 p.