The “Bible Alone” and a Reformed, Literal Hermeneutic
By the 1830s and 1840s, challenges began to emerge to republican, commonsense understandings of the Christian faith. In the North, stronger individualistic interpretations emerged, whereas Southerners were returning to classic understandings of republicanism. In both the North and the South, however, the dominant pattern of biblical interpretation was shaped by the Reformed tradition, and it stressed a literal reading of the text. In the years leading up to the Civil War, differences over how to interpret Scripture, especially with regard to slavery, led to far‐reaching theological debates.
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