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Does Higher Criticism Attempt to “Destroy the Bible”? Addendum A

July 17, 2011

I thought I would offer a short addendum displaying the sort of attitude I believe is prevalent in many fundamental circles. I could be wrong, but it seems to me I run into this sort of attitude very often.

Alvin Plantinga has written:

There is no compelling or even reasonably decent argument for supposing the procedures and assumptions of historical biblical criticism are to be preferred to those of traditional biblical commentary

In this comment from Plantinga’s essay he is rhetorically assuring people that they do not have to examine the procedures of historical criticism, because if they actually understood them and did…

In the videos, Chuck assures his audience that the Documentary Hypothesis (DH) comes from “subversive” scholars and has been “shredded” and, of course, they need not bother reading any of the extremely “boring” books on the DH, they can rather take his word that it has been “shredded.” Or they can believe Jesus.

It seems I keep hearing “thinkers” all across the ideological spectrum who are encouraging people not to think! Whatever you do: do not look at the evidence!

Just to be clear: the DH has not been shredded; if anything subsequent formulations of the original DH (really should be the Documentary “Theory” if we are going to follow the program of methodological naturalism) posit even more sources for the Torah. J1, J2, or H as final redactor, do not add anything, at all, in any way, to the veracity of Mosaic authorship.

In addition, the most popular theory–as far as I can tell–in recent Torah scholarship, asserts that we can learn very little, to no, actual history from the Pentateuch but instead learn about the social conditions in Yehud in the fifth or fourth century.

Hardly, the ‘shredding’ that Chuck assures his audience has taken place…

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. nazani14 permalink
    July 17, 2011 5:53 pm

    I think it’s very good of Mr. Missler to make a commercial for Timothy Garton Ash’s book “Facts Are subversive.”

  2. July 18, 2011 8:30 am

    unbelievable. whatever you do, don’t think: it’s not worth it. it’s just a lot of work and you won’t like the results. so just believe what i tell you.

  3. Drew permalink
    July 18, 2011 10:58 am

    Hello Scott,

    This is my first time posting here so please bare with me. Im a big fan of your blog. I have a question for you though concerning those who reject higher criticism. (which I dont btw). My question is thus: Since most of our knowledge comes from TRUSTING in some sort of authority, why do many proponents of higher criticism seem to suggest or convey that there is an “obviousness” to their method and accuse those that disagree with them of a willful ignorance of the facts? Do not many proponents of higher criticism do the same as this guy by essentialling saying “we’ve done the work for you layperson, take us at our word”. I understand we must assess whether ones reasons are sufficiently plausible, but oi dont think it is just a simple case of being a bad thinker. I hope my question came out al ok right

    • nazani14 permalink
      July 18, 2011 4:23 pm

      “Do not many proponents of higher criticism do the same as this guy by essentially saying “we’ve done the work for you layperson, take us at our word”.

      No. If you pick up a text that does not have a bibliography and plenty of footnotes that allow the reader to investigate all the evidence the writer is basing his arguments on, it’s not “higher criticism,” it’s just unfounded opinions. Actual scholars do not expect their readers to accept anything on face value or on the strength of their reputations.

  4. Drew permalink
    July 18, 2011 11:00 am

    How do higher critics avoid the “believe what I tell you” trap and dissenters fall prey to it?

  5. July 18, 2011 10:50 pm

    “There is no compelling or even reasonably decent argument for supposing the procedures and assumptions of historical biblical criticism are to be preferred to those of traditional biblical commentary.”

    All the compelling hard evidence shows that neither Platinga’s camp nor Missler’s camp takes the bible seriously in the first place. The compelling data shows that the bible is a wash-out among all other factors no matter what.

    High. Low. Alpha apes fighting for meme-reproductive rights to thin air.

    Cheers,

    Jim

  6. Deane Galbraith permalink
    July 19, 2011 3:22 am

    From its most popular apologetics through to its most sophisticated formulations, modern theological reasoning relies heavily on the infusion of seeds of doubt, on the faux humility involved in emphasising human limitations, and on the glorification of epistemological uncertainty. Modern theology has become little more than the parade example for agnotology.

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