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In scripture, we find not just religious thought and theory—but a challenge to how we read

When it comes to reading religious texts, intellectual curiosity and reasoning can only take us so far. We must approach them with a mind open to complexity, beauty and troubling honesty

By Lucy Winkett   July 2019

A large-scale print of the so-called 'Gumbertus' Bible' is on display at the Germanisches Nationalmuseum in Nuremberg. Photo: PA

The Roman Catholic theologian James Alison has coined a useful phrase to describe how holy texts are harnessed in the cause of strongly-held opinions. “Clobber texts,” as he calls them, are short portions of scripture taken out of context and quoted to provide a “ta-da!” moment of rhetorical victory. A variant of what used to be called “Bible bashing,” the use of “clobber texts” is more prevalent now than…

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