Biblical Knowing: A Scriptural Epistemology of Error

By Dru Johnson

A rigorous examination of the epistemological issues raised by Scripture, and how a biblical approach to knowledge compares with that of modern philosophy.

ISBN: 9780227174388


With major themes like “the knowledge of good and evil”, “knowing that YHWH is your God”, knowing that Jesus is the Christ, and the goal of developing Israel into a “wise and discerning people”, Scripture clearly stresses human knowledge and the consequences of error. We too long for confidence in our understanding – the assurance that our most basic knowledge is not ultimately incorrect. Biblical Knowing assesses what Israel knew, but more importantly, how she was meant to know – introducing a comprehensive scriptural epistemology, firmly rooted in the Scripture’s own presentation of important epistemological events in the story of Israel.

Because modern philosophy has also made authoritative claims about knowledge, the author engages contemporary academic views of knowledge (e.g., Reformed Epistemology, scientific epistemology, Virtue Epistemology, etc.) and recent philosophical method (e.g., Analytic Theology), assessing them for points of congruence or departure from Scripture’s own epistemology. Additionally, he explores what proper knowing looks like in the task of theology itself, in the teaching and preaching of the church, and in the context of counseling.

Additional information

Dimensions 229 × 153 mm
Pages 262

Trade Information JPOD

About the Author

Dru Johnson is an Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies at The King’s College in New York City. He has also been Templeton Senior Research Fellow at the Herzl Institute in Jerusalem.


Foreword by Craig G. Bartholomew

1. How Should We Conceive of Knowledge and Error?
2. Knowing in the Garden: Genesis 2
3. Error in the Garden: Genesis 3
4. Erroneous Knowing in Exodus and Beyond
5. Knowing under the Prophet-Messiah: Mark, Luke, and John
6. Scientific Epistemology, Wisdom, and the Epistles
7. Broad Reality and Contemporary Epistemology
8. Analytic Theology and Biblical Scholarship
9. Implications for Theologians and the Church

Scripture Index
Subject and Name Index


Endorsements and Reviews

Dru Johnson attends carefully to Scripture to elucidate the dimensions of human knowing it exemplifies throughout. He compares biblical knowing favorably with scientific epistemology in a Polanyian vein, and he contrasts it with the myopic preoccupation with propositions in Anglo-American analytic philosophy. Johnson taps his multi-disciplinary expertise to bring Christian scholars a valuable study that itself calls us to listening and participation in order to see a broader reality.
Esther L. Meek, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Geneva College, Pennsylvania

Dru Johnson’s Biblical Knowing is a superb introduction to the latest currents in scholarship seeking to elucidate the philosophical content of Scripture. … He defends rigor and clarity as biblical values, but boldly insists that these can be no less present in biblical stories about gaining knowledge than in the discursive arguments of later traditions. This is an excellent work that deserves careful attention, opening up new horizons in both philosophy and biblical studies.
Yoram Hazony, author of The Philosophy of Hebrew Scripture