Bible the Talisman

Author/scholar Timothy Beal wrote that there is a growing phenomenon that if I think of as ‘Biblical Idolatry’*

That on the one hand you have those who BELIEVE the Bible, who read it, and form their religious identity around what they find written there.

And on the other hand, you have those who believe IN the Bible. They don’t try to read and understand and model their life on it. They use it like a talisman or an idol, something to form identity around by claiming allegiance to it. For these individuals the identity is created through that allegiance, rather than being forged by engaging with the text and allowing their identity to emerge from its teachings.

The POTUS and his Bible signings are the most high profile example of this phenomenon I’ve seen so far.

*he might have used that specific term? Not sure and I don’t have the book in front of me to do a direct quote. Regardless the idea is his, not mine. I’m just trying to summarize it. His book ‘The Rise and Fall of the Bible’ is great. I recommend checking it out, as well as his other titles.

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