Many introductions to biblical studies describe critical approaches, but they do not discuss the theological implications. This timely resource discusses the relationship between historical criticism and Christian theology to encourage evangelical engagement with historical-critical scholarship. Charting a middle course between wholesale rejection and unreflective embrace, the book introduces evangelicals to a way of understanding and using historical-critical scholarship that doesn't compromise Christian orthodoxy. The book covers eight of the most hotly contested areas of debate in biblical studies, helping readers work out how to square historical criticism with their beliefs.
Christopher M. Hays (DPhil, University of Oxford) is professor of New Testament at the Biblical Seminary of Colombia. Christopher B. Ansberry (PhD, Wheaton College Graduate School) is lecturer in Old Testament at Oak Hill College in London, England.
This carefully argued book urges evangelical Christians to reexamine the potential of historical-critical biblical criticism. The book's essays make this case with unusually discriminating attention to biblical texts, critical treatments of these texts, theological implications of the treatments, and self-conscious historical awareness for both biblical eras and our own day. The authors seek not universal acceptance of what they propose so much as fresh evangelical engagement with questions involving the methods of biblical criticism--and therefore with Scripture itself. In this aim they succeed admirably.
-Mark A. Noll,
professor of history, University of Notre Dame; author of Between Faith and Criticism: Evangelicals, Scholarship, and the Bible in America
Hays and Ansberry provide evangelical students with something they rarely see: a discussion of the major critical issues in biblical studies combined with a respectful, discerning appreciation for the biblical text as scripture. Too often students must choose between academic rigor and personal belief. A well-written volume treating these issues is a rare gift to a new generation of students now looking at many of these issues for the very first time. The editors have chosen their topics well, and they have recruited a skilled team of writers to bring it to successful completion.
-Gary M. Burge,
professor of New Testament, Wheaton College
Hays and Ansberry have produced a learned and pastoral collection of essays calling for evangelicals to engage with and integrate into their faith the genuine insights of historical criticism. The contributors accept with grace and honesty the inescapable theological challenges to evangelicalism inherent in such engagement and exhibit the courage to give both faith and historical criticism the respect they deserve. This volume is a welcome addition to the growing number of evangelical voices calling for a reassessment of an evangelical doctrine of Scripture, not as an attack but for the end goal of supporting and enriching the evangelical movement.
Chris Hays and Chris Ansberry engage in the courageous task of showing how evangelical scholars can soberly address the hot-potato issues in biblical scholarship, even appropriate many critical insights, without selling out on what evangelicals traditionally believe. The contributors systematically address big topics like Pentateuchal criticism, pseudepigraphy and canon, problems with prophecy, and the historical Jesus, and they exemplify what it means to practice 'faithful criticism' when it comes to the Bible. This is the type of discussion on faith and criticism that evangelical scholarship has needed for years. Thankfully, an intellectually rigorous and theologically sensitive approach to these matters is finally upon us!
lecturer in theology, Ridley Melbourne College of Mission and Ministry, Australia
A project like this is long overdue. Our students need to read essays and books that will not only orient them to the goals and methods of critical biblical scholarship but also provide them with a sieve with which to sift what they are reading. While a book of this sort could deal with two dozen or more critical subjects, the editors have chosen eight that scream the most loudly for attention and have the greatest potential for wide use in courses on hermeneutics, the history of biblical interpretation, and introductions to the Bible--Old Testament and New Testament. The contributors handle controversial notions with integrity, seriousness, respect, and a commitment to fairness. They offer very needful guidance for young evangelical scholars encountering the world of critical scholarship for the first time. I commend the project and the contributors with enthusiasm.
-Daniel I. Block,
Gunther H. Knoedler Professor of Old Testament, Wheaton College