In the age of enlightenment, the skepticism of European ideological circles was mainly aimed at the authority of the church.
The activities of reshaping the knowledge system and cognitive structure were also carried out on the basis of criticizing the traditional knowledge system of the church.
Finally, it was inevitable to point the spearhead at the Bible, which was regarded as the source of all thoughts and knowledge by the church.
As a part of the whole skepticism, historical skepticism also needs to question the history described in the Bible and the history of the Bible itself, while the new historical concept, especially the concept of world history, has grown up in various disputes around the history of the Bible, and the criticism of the Bible text has developed into a special research field.
In addition, ancient Chinese history has caused great waves in Europe, which is rooted in its conflict with biblical history.
For these reasons, before formally describing the storm caused by the records of ancient Chinese history in Europe, we also need to understand what impact the foundation of the Bible has been under the context of Europe’s own culture and knowledge.
Generally speaking, the criticism of the Bible can be divided into two categories: one is philosophical criticism and the other is historical criticism.
The former reveals the epistemological contradiction of the biblical concept, while the latter shows that the factual basis of the biblical concept is unreliable, and describes how the so-called sacred concept actually originated from the secular society and gradually deified.
These two levels of criticism correspond to the two efforts to find the certainty of knowledge based on Rationalism and empiricism, which echo each other and weaken the sanctity and authority of the Bible from the metaphysical and factual levels.
We should focus on the historical criticism of the Bible, and the philosophical criticism is only selective.
Section I philosophical criticism Hermann Samuel Reimarus (1694-1768), a German philosopher and Enlightenment writer in the first half of the 18th century, made a very representative criticism of the Bible on the basis of epistemology.
He is considered to be the pioneer of radical rationalist criticism of orthodox doctrines.
Lemus is unforgettable because of his deistic view.
He insists that human rationality can achieve a more certain religion than enlightenment religion.
In 1727, Lemus was appointed as a professor of Hebrew and Oriental languages at Hamburg high school (or preparatory school).
He turned his residence into a cultural center and a meeting place for academia and the arts.
Abhandlungen von den vornehmsten wahrheiten der NAT ü rlichen religion, published in 1754, is his first important philosophical work, which discusses cosmology, biology psychology and theology from the standpoint of deism.
In die vernunftlehre in 1756, he fought against the traditional Christian faith based on revelation.
Lemalus has spent 20 years in writing many philosophical papers, which are collected into the “apology oder schutzschift f ü r die Vern ü nftigen verehrer gottes”, which is the most important work in his life.
The whole theme of this paper is that the moral teachings on which human society depends can be obtained through rationality without the help of revelation principles, This rational religion is more perfect than enlightenment religion.
However, Lemus did not publish this work after careful consideration until his death.
Later, Lessing obtained the incomplete manuscript of the work from the children of Lemus, so he published it in his own history and Literature (zur Geschichte und Literatur) under the name of fragmente eines ungennten from 1774 to 1777.
As soon as the fragment of Lemus’s manuscript came out, it caused a controversy that aroused both liberals and conservatives, and Lessing was involved in the most heated debate of his life.
In fact, Lessing took a conciliatory position on Lemus’ radical views, but theologians still regarded these publications as a serious challenge to religious legitimacy because Lemus rejected the basic tenets of Christian faith.
So what basic tenets does Lemus pose a threat to in this work that he dared not publish? Lemus’ rational religion can be said to be the manifestation of rationalism paradigm in religion.
His basic foothold when attacking orthodox Christianity is that it is correct to use rationalism paradigm in religion and should not be subject to any restrictions.
Based on this, he comprehensively criticized the theory of original sin and the concept of revelation.
Lemalus believes that the theory of original sin is a slander of rational ability, and denies that rationality has the ability to achieve human goals and has full self-sufficiency in human religious life.
The idea that human reason has died out in religious life contains a Christian doctrine: build faith on history and “imprison reason” under the guidance of faith.
And subjecting reason to faith is not only a stain on human dignity, but also the root of Christian intolerance.
Lemus then made a series of careful interpretations of the Bible, pointing out that there is no creed about “original sin” in the Bible, but biblical scholars teach it to people as the request of God.
He wanted to show that in the Bible, reason is not something that makes mankind “decadent”, and Adam committed his sin precisely because he had no rational knowledge.
Lemalus’ criticism of the concept of revelation is based on such a logic: what God can reveal to mankind is nothing more than common things in form and substance, that is, things similar to rational truth, and spiritual power exists in man’s rational comprehension ability.
Therefore, the only tool to obtain God’s revelation is human rational power without the help of external forces.
Only in this way can rational revelation have universal significance, that is, rational humans in all times and places have the tools to discover God’s revelation.
Therefore, he believes that the theory of Christian revelation has no basis.
According to his rational religious concept, the Bible, as the source of God’s revelation, is full of contradictions, so it has no historical reliability.
Taking the Bible as the intermediary of God’s revelation actually expresses the concept that the knowledge about God originates from history and the truth about God is transmitted by history.
However, lemalus believes that the truth of God as a universal truth is neither necessary nor possible to be based on history.
The revelation given by God cannot be the revelation for all.
The revelation given through history must always have its own characteristics because of its historicitySex, and always subject to conditions.
All these conditions are opposed to the universality, inevitability and unconditional nature of rational truth.
Therefore, one of the reasons why the Bible is not reliable as a revelation intermediary is that the revelation conveyed by the Bible is not universal.
One manifestation of this non universality is the limitation of time.
If the necessary truth about human salvation is obtained or can be obtained at a specific time in human history, it is impossible for all humans living before that time to know this necessary truth.
However, since God is good in nature and should seek the happiness of all people, the view of saving the truth spread through history is not enough.
In fact, the revelation of some people’s witness is not directly acceptable to others, and only the revelation of some people’s witness is directly acceptable to others.
In addition, even if God’s Revelation to mankind through history can be regarded as a possible event, this possible event is not a religious necessity for mankind to obtain spiritual happiness.
Here, lemalus’ contempt for the revelation of the Bible is based on his contempt for the truth transmitted by history, which is the expression of the “rationalists” holding an absolute opposition between rational truth and historical truth, and criticizing the epistemological errors of traditional Christianity based on the common logic of “rationalists”.
Lemalus also made an in-depth study of the Bible, revealing that the historical legends about revelation are unreliable, which constitutes another reason why the Bible cannot be used as a reliable revelation intermediary.
Lemus tried his best to show that the historical legends in the Bible, especially those about miracles, were inaccurate.
For example, he denied all miracles except creation, including the birth of the virgin, the resurrection of Jesus, the resurrection of Christ and other miracles.
He also tried to study the life of Jesus and draw him as a mortal who spread a religion about reason.
In fact, this practice of Lemus shows the general view of the Enlightenment on the Bible – to make a strict textual research on it as a historical text.
However, when Lymus denied the reliability of the historical facts contained in the Bible, his main focus was still to deny the whole Christianity according to the provisions of the rationalist paradigm on truth, that is, things with transient and temporal characteristics could not explain to mankind that there is an inevitable, eternal and universal, that is, the core of rationality, and could not be used to convey religious truth.
In other words, the essence of traditional Christianity is unreliable just because of its historicity.
At most, the historical facts in the Bible can show that a specific event may have occurred, but since God is the origin of rational existence, God’s revelation cannot be revealed through specific and historical things, but through universal and inevitable truth.
In the eyes of rationalists like Lemus, only rational religion is fully reliable.
Rational religion is the only religion that can show the paradigm of rationalism.
Rationality has the ability to discover all necessary and sufficient concepts about God, the world and mankind, and also has the ability to regulate human activities with these concepts.
Based on the worship of rational religion, the Bible does not contain some doctrines that are considered by rationalists to be related to religious truth, which has become another reason to question the reliability of the Bible as an enlightenment intermediary.
For example, immortality is of great significance to the formation of a person’s moral life, but the Old Testament does not contain the doctrine of immortality, so it is obviously impossible for it to be a reliable source of God’s revelation.