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Evangelical Faith and the Challenge of Historical Criticism
In this book, several young scholars offer their reflections on what it means to be an evangelical in the world of critical biblical scholarship. This is a bold but welcome invitation to all, including seasoned scholars, to pull their heads out of the sand and stop pretending that the results of historical-critical scholarship cannot and should not contribute to our understanding of Scripture – a charge I have personally heard. Undoubtedly some readers will misunderstand what the contributors are trying to do and confuse their personal viewpoints with some that are espoused in the book. Those readers must read to the end, where the authors declare their firm evangelical commitment to faithful criticism and critical faith.
Daniel I. Block, Professor of Old Testament, Wheaton College, Illinois
Hays and 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 such as Pentateuchal criticism, pseudepigraphy and canon, problems with prophecy, and the historical Jesus, and exemplify what it means to practice a form of “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!
Dr Michael Bird, Ridley Melbourne Ministry & Mission College, Australia
This carefully argued book urges evangelical Christians to re-examine 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 so much universal acceptance of what they propose, but 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