C. F. D. Moule on History and Christian Faith

C. F. D. Moule on History and Christian Faith October 13, 2016

For belief it is necessary to see Moule quote

Matthew Montonini shared a quote from C. F. D. Moule about history and faith. Here is a longer excerpt:

Decision there must be if there is to be Christian faith. Faith is faith, and no amount of photography and tape-recording of events could compel it. To see is not necessarily to believe. But, on the other hand, neither is blind faith real faith. For belief it is necessary to see–at least something. The decision to accept Jesus as Lord cannot be made without historical evidence–yes, historical–about Jesus. If it were a decision without any historical evidence it would not be about Jesus (a historical person) but only about an ideology or ideal.

Click through for even more of the quotation.


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  • Thank you for sharing this. The full quotation shows some balance. Moule was writing at a time when apologetics was all about a reasonable faith with all its proofs. The extreme was to value reason over faith and throw out anything that didn’t measure up. This, however, shows some nuance, and, dare I say, faith.

  • James, I am a subscriber to Bart Ehrman’s blog. Most of it is kept behind a paywall (all proceeds go to charities), but this recent post is not. I thought you’d find it interesting:

    “Can Biblical Scholars Be Historians?”

    http://ehrmanblog.org/can-biblical-scholars-be-historians/

    Would you agree with Ehrman’s answer?

    • As I recall (I subscribe too), his answer was that not all NT scholars do history, but some are indeed historians of early Christianity, and others at least train in historical methods as part of our palette of scholarly approaches around what is a field rather than a discipline. And I would absolutely agree with that.

      • That’s some of what he said, yes. I think what struck me is that the questioner was looking for a black and white answer, and Ehrman basically said, “well, gray”.

        • Which is, of course, what scholars tend to do. History is a discipline which involves a range of methods, and those discipline-specific methods are also used in fields such as anthropology, Classics, religious studies, and elsewhere. And of course, there are some specific subsets – not all historians are archaeologists, for instance. So it is indeed a question that requires a nuanced answer.