Carson’s Strong Words

As I’ve been working my way slowly through Alexander Carson’s (1776-1844) work on scripture, I’ve noticed that he uses very strong language against his opponents. To such a degree that I find it distracting. Here are some examples from chapter seven of Examination of the Principles of Biblical Interpretation of Ernesti, Ammon, Stuart, and Other Philologists (1863), entitled “Scripture Cannot Contradict Itself”:

The Neologists are bad interpreters as well as erroneous theologians. Does [Christoph Friedrich von] Ammon show any mark of a sound philologist? His principles of interpretation are false; and a greater number of blunders no man ever made in the same compass. What is it that entitles those men to the exalted seat to which common opinion has raised them? They are learned men, I admit; but they are not critics. They are universally acquainted with books, but not with the philosophy of language. Their interpretation is as destitute of science as their theology is of truth, and their audacious freedom with the Word of God is intolerable. This imperious man insults both the Scriptures and those who have dared to defend them from the imputation of contradiction…Ought such insolence to pass unchastised? Ought such infidelity  to be recognised as a dictator in the science of interpretation? Should a man be suffered with impunity to charge the Word of the Most High with innumerable contradictions, when in the very charge he discovers that he does not know what a contradiction is? Must the vindicators of the inspiration of Scripture be charged with offending against truth that they may defend and sustain a fiction?

Alexander Carson, “Examination of the Principles of Biblical Interpretation of Ernesti, Ammon, Stuart, and Other Philologists” in Works (Dublin/London/Edinburgh: William Carson/Houlston & Stoneman/Wm. Whyte, 1863), 5:324.


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