John Toland on the Interpretation of Scripture

The early modern rationalist John Toland (1670-1722) argued, long before the famous statement of Benjamin Jowett in the mid-nineteenth century, that the Bible is to interpreted like any other book. That is, for Toland, with the same attentiveness and clarity of human reason:

all Men will own the Verity I defend, if they read the sacred Writings with that Equity and Attention that is due to meer Humane Works: Nor is there any different Rule to be follow’d in the Interpretation of Scripture from what is common to all other Books.

— John Toland, Christianity Not Mysterious, 2nd ed. (London, 1696), 49.