Study of Scottish Hermeneutical Method From John Knox to the Early Twentieth Century: From Christian to Secular

Author: Clauson, Marc A.
This work examines the evolution of Scottish hermeneutical method from John Knox to the early 20th century, showing how the method was transformed from a Primitivism (a term borrowed from the history of ideas) to “historical consciousness” as represented by the higher critical method. This work examines the whole “big picture” of transformation based on the “paradigm shift” or presuppositions from the primitivism of John Knox and others to the Enlightenment-based historical-critical method.


“There is no study available that provides such a comprehensive view of one country and the quest over a period of time to understand its sacred text. Clauson draws upon a wide range of sources – including dogmatics, commentaries, sermons, and other special materials – to develop his thesis; and these sources are not limited to a few leading scholars, who are exalted beyond all proportion and made to represent the rest. They include the breadth of opinion and influence of the lesser known authors in order to establish a sense of what is transpiring in the actual loves of the people, the land, and its church during the period….the study establishes its own worth as an invaluable tool in understanding the origin of ideas that are critical to the church today.” – (From the Preface) Stephen Strehle, Christopher Newport University

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. Historical Context
3. Reformation Era Hermeneutical Method in Scotland John Knox’s Hermeneutics
4. The Second Generation: The Seventeenth Century
5. The Scottish Enlightenment and Eighteenth Century Hermeneutical Method
6. Nineteenth Century Scottish Hermeneutics
7. The First Stage of Nineteenth Century Scottish Hermeneutics: From Enlightenment to Darwin
8. Hermeneutical Method in Scotland After 1870
9. The End of the Nineteenth Century and the Beginning of the Twentieth Century
10. Primitivists and Critical Interpreters: The Primitivist Response
11. The Influence of Pre-Critical and Critical Methods Beyond Scotland