AskDefine | Define bibliolatry

Dictionary Definition

bibliolatry n : worship of the Bible [syn: Bible-worship]

Extensive Definition

Bibliolatry is the worship of the Bible or any other text. The word is a portmanteau of the Greek words "biblion" (book) and "latria" (worship), and though it may also refer to an extreme devotion to books in general, it is more often used as a derogatory reference to the elevation of a holy book to a divine level.
The term itself most frequently used as a pejorative term to negatively label theological opponents, typically appearing in exchanges between different Christian sects or different wings of a Christian sect or church. There are very few who claim to worship a book itself, but those who believe in biblical inerrancy are sometimes considered to be bibliolaters by those who take a different view of the Bible. Many Christians believe that God is revealed in a unique, authoritative and unambiguous way through the Bible, while others believe that this is essentially worship of the Bible and that God is also significantly revealed through the study of nature, reason (Logos), traditional practice, and individual experience (see the Wesleyan Quadrilateral), all of which must be taken into account when deciding how to truly follow God and how to properly interpret any scripture. Some denominations, such as Latter-day Saints and Roman Catholics, assert the role of continuing divine revelation or interpretation through authoritative or inspired leaders or prophets.
Jaroslav Pelikan writes of Unitatis Redintegratio 21, "the Second Vatican Council of the Roman Catholic Church of 1962-1965 could speak with a mixture of genuine admiration and ever-so-gentle reproof about a 'love and reverence, almost a cult, for Holy Scripture' among the 'separated Protestant brethren'." Southern Baptist William Merrell published a brief survey of Southern Baptist responses to the charge of bibliolatry in 2000.
Though most often used in a Christian context, the charge of bibliolatry is also sometimes levelled against Islamic fundamentalists and other religionists deemed excessively devoted to their holy texts.


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