Video of Kevin Vanhoozer on “Augustinian Inerrancy”

In the book Biblical Inerrancy: Five Views, one of the contributors is Kevin Vanhoozer, who presents the kind of hermeneutically sophisticated and theologically nuanced position on inerrancy that American evangelicals desperately need to listen to. I found points of agreement and disagreement with all contributors in the book, however, I felt the closest kinship with Kevin Vahoozer. My only hang up is that his “Augustinian Inerrancy” needs to face up to some serious “Origenesque exegesis” in order to be a bit more robust. But seriously, Vanhoozer gives a good take on a sensitive subject.

What is more, we are lucky that Vanhoozer’s pre-recorded talk that was presented at ETS is now available on-line for viewing. Here it is:

  • Owen Kelly

    Dr. Bird, could you please recommend a helpful resource concerning the “Origenesque exegesis” you mentioned?

    • Michael Bird

      Owen, see the book by Chris Hays on Historical Criticism and Evangelical Faith

      • Patrick

        A recent book by Professor John Walton I found helpful on hermeneutics. “Lost world of Scripture”. He makes some fine distinctions between locution and illocution relating to inerrancy issues.

  • Joshua Wooden

    Dr. Vanhoozer certainly knows how to walk a fine line. The truth is, much of what he says is compatible with John Piper’s view on inerrancy. I had the pleasure of taking a class from him while at TEDS – he is a very difficult person to disagree with, as his views on, well, pretty much everything, are highly sophisticated and nuanced.

    I think his view, though, while it affirms inerrancy, has the same end result of someone who doesn’t believe in inerrancy but still affirms that it is trustworthy and is still the Word of God. The end result in both cases is a close reading of scripture with attentiveness to genre, audience, and broad historical/cultural context. I don’t argue that inerrancy is true or not – I don’t know. But it does seem irrelevant, apart from toeing a particular line.

    Dr. Vanhoozer highlights a number of issues raised by Christian Smith in his book “The Bible Made Possible.” He essentially says (and I think rightly) that belief in inerrancy does not lend itself to a particular interpretation of scripture, it does not solve issues of exegetical complexity, etc. All of this, however, leaves me wondering, “Then what DOES IT DO?” What problem exists in the minds of Evangelicals that inerrancy solves?

    I don’t want to relativize inerrancy, but I don’t think I’m doing that. Qualifying the doctrine to death, as Vanhoozer and Piper do, seems to me to make it entirely irrelevant. It does not change how we read, interpret, apply – in short, how we approach scripture. So what’s the point?


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