This essay asks whether the Bible’s authority is a matter of (propositional) content as well as (poetic) form. It extends Martha Nussbaum’s work on the importance of literature for ethics by examining the effect of the “ancient quarrel” between philosophers and poets on the relationship of biblical literature to theology. Biblical authority involves not only revealed information but also large-scale patterns of information processing, like narrative, a cognitive strategy for grasping meaningful wholes. Scripture’s literary forms perform a pedagogical function, helping disciples to make right judgments about the theodrama, and hence serve as a means of sapiential formation.
Lewis“Modern Theology and Biblical Criticism,”Christian Reflections(Grand Rapids: Eerdmans 1967) 154. Cf. my “On Scripture” in Robert MacSwain and Michael Ward eds. The Cambridge Companion to C. S. Lewis (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 2010) 75-88.