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on December 12, 2013
I'm not going to give you a lot of technical stuff, but after 40 years of suspicion of Kurt Aland, Bruce Metzger, and Westcott and Hort, at last I own a book which refutes them powerfully. If you read this book, along with companion book, "Biblical Criticism on Trial," you soon realize that this lady professor has just as much under the hood as any of the big German guns -- and she knows all their dirty secrets and rips them to shreds. If you are a conservative Bible scholar, you have got to own this book. If you are a liberal one, I double dog dare you to face up to the evidence herein. I think of Professor Linnemann as The Real Thing in terms of higher critical scholarship and training, only she has seen that the German emperors of biblical scholarship have no clothes.
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on November 25, 2015
Vitally important work for those who are aware, or desire to be better informed, of the error and intellectual dishonesty of biblical text critics.
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on March 7, 2016
Succint and scholarly refutation of Bultmannism.
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on June 11, 2016
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on June 26, 2010
Etta is a brilliant scholar, but she writes so the average reader can understand her point. Will we be 'God-centered' putting our total trust in God's Word or will we be 'Man-centered' trusting the methodological method that trusts induction? She makes a strong statement that the Church must be 'God-centered', putting its faith in the revealed Word of God not the reasoning of limited man.
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on February 21, 2015
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on March 16, 2009
Eta Linnemann studied under Germany's elite biblical scholars--Rudolph Bultmann and Ernst Fuchs, Friedrich Gogarten and Gerhard Ebeling. She passed the exacting hurdles which grant entrance into academia, ultimately becoming an professor of New Testament at Philipps University in Marburg. Along the way she published books and articles espousing the "historical-critical" methodology she'd been taught. In Historical Criticism of the Bible: Methodology or Ideology? (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, c. 1990), she announces her repudiation of that methodology--which she now insists is an atheistic ideology or "theology"--and sorrows for the damage it's done to the Church of Jesus Christ.
She also laments the young people historical criticism has harmed: "We have put generation after generation of believing Christian young people, who were willing and eager to serve God, through this fire, sacrificing them to the Moloch of an atheistic theology. The result has been generation after generation of misguided guides" (p. 117). In her introduction, which reads much like an impassioned manifesto, Linnemann declares: "My 'No!' to the historical theology stems from my 'Yes!' to my wonderful Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and to the glorious redemption he accomplished for me on Golgotha" (p. 17). Furthermore, "on the basis of various observations, discoveries, and a resulting self-awareness, I was forced to conclude two things I did not wish: (1) no 'truth' could emerge from this 'scientific work on the biblical text' and (2) such labor does not serve the proclamation of the gospel" (p. 17).
On a personal level, her lifelong immersion in biblical studies, following the "historical-critical methodology," resulted in a "profound disillusionment" which led her into a variety of "addictions" (TV and alcohol). Graciously, God brought some believers into her life who cared for her, prayed with her, and helped her find the living Lord. In time, "By God's grace and love I entrusted my life to Jesus" (p. 18). That surrender resulted in a deliverance from her addictions and an entrance into the life she'd long longed for. It was as if she emerged from the fog into the sunshine. "I was able to recognize sin clearly as sin rather than merely make excuses for it as was my previous habit. I can still remember the delicious joy I felt when for the first time black was once more black and white was once more white; the two ceased to pool together as indistinguishable gray" (p. 18).
Concurrently she discovered the integrity and supernatural inspiration of God's Word--"I recognized, first mentally, but then in a vital, experiential way, that Holy Scripture is inspired" (p. 20). Quite a revelation for a German university New Testament professor! Eyes opened by miracles taking place even today, her "scientific" biases against biblical miracles quickly dissolved. She also found Christ's atoning work for sin on Calvary freed her from her own sins. In view of all this, "That is why I say 'No!' to the historical-critical theology: I regard everything that I taught and wrote before I entrusted my life to Jesus as refuse" (p. 20). She has tossed into the trash, with the emotional zeal of a new convert, all the books and articles she earlier wrote--and she urges all who have them on their shelves to do likewise! She turned her life over to God's guidance and went to teach in a Bible college in Indonesia, hoping her biblical studies could contribute to spreading the Faith and furthering Christ's King¬dom.
In the first chapter, she evaluates the modern university and its impact on biblical studies. In her judgment, universities since the Enlightenment have been atheistic in their assumptions and pagan in their functions. Thus any education which hopes to be truly Christian "can be established only by conscious dissociation from the modern European university and its history" (p. 49). That dissociation must be radical! Simply gathering Christian teachers and students together will not suffice. Beginning classes with prayer may be pius, but not efficacious. "The content of the activities must be fundamentally transformed from the ground up. Entire areas of intellectual inquiry must be grounded in God's Word" (p. 49). The Bible must be brought to the heart of every academic discipline. She writes as an advocate, it would seem, of Bible colleges--or at least Christian colleges completely suffused with Scripture.
For only the Bible is forever relevant to man's endeavors. In a profound sense, Linnemann takes Luther's adamant sola scriptura principle with utter seriousness. In fact, the Bible is more "modern" than the illusions which were judged "up-to-date" two decades ago! The "modern man" of the French Revolution, worshipping the goddess Reason, seems curiously antiquated compared with father Abraham! For Linnemann it's back to the Bible if we're to deal with what's to come.
Having critiqued the university scene, she then discusses, in Part Two, "God's Word and Historical-Critical Theology." Here she insists that biblical scholars, seeking to be respectable and "scientific," have deserted their true calling. "The Bible is no longer esteemed as God's word in the way it is handled. It is taken for granted that the words of the Bible and God's words are not identical" (p. 83). "Using grotesque literary methods" which would be shoveled aside in other disciplines, university researchers capriciously label "inauthentic" (i.e. non-Pauline) such canonical books as the pastoral letters, Ephesians and Colossians or dismember the Pentateuch with variations on Wellhausen's scheme.
At the heart of this endeavor, lies a "faith in theology," a "fundamental presupposition" which dictates all that follows: "that the final authority regarding what is true is the trained, professionally informed, regimented critical intellect. That is, holy Scripture is subordinated to reason" (p. 107). Such a presupposition clearly leaves God the Holy Spirit, both as inspirer and interpreter of the text, out of the inquiry. So it's time we call it what it is: "Historical-critical theology is heresy" (p. 124). Though usually guarded and gracious regarding individuals, lamenting rather than lambasting their errors, Linnemann leaves no doubt that she considers her former mentor, Rudolph Bultmann, utterly heretical!
What Linnemann urges is a "theology of faith" rather than a "faith in theology." Only when we're surrendered to the Word of God, open to its truth, submissive to its instructions, can we rightly read it. Consequently, "Questions are solved on one's knees, not through ransacking commentaries" (p. 112). Certainly it helps to study carefully, to master the original languages, etc. but a "theologian does not, by virtue of his academic study, occupy the judge's bench. God does" (p. 113).
For her, Scripture is verbally (though not mechanically) inspired, inerrant "not only in the area of faith and life but also in all other areas" (p. 147). How interesting to find a onetime "higher critic" ending up a virtual Fundamentalist!
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on May 22, 2005
Linnemann brings a refreshing corrector to the many nonsenses of higher criticism/s. Her conversion story (covered partially in her introduction - pages 17-20) is a beautiful example of God's sovereign grace.

The term "Historical Criticism" is really only defined by the translator - page 7. This may be because Historical Criticism is a more well-known term in the German. It does not seem to be the same as "the Historical-Critical Method" which Edgar Krentz writes about in the Fortress Press offering in the "Guides to Biblical Scholarship" series. Rather, it includes all the higher criticisms, such as form and redactional criticism. Textual criticism is an example of lower criticism, which, used honestly and properly, glorifies God because it is aimed at ascertaining what the text of the original languages actually says, rather than dodging the commands of a holy God. Good introductions to Textual Criticism are Clayton Harrop's "History of the New Testament in Plain Language" and D.A. Carson's "The King James Version Debate". The latter is not simply a polemic against the KJV, it is also a very helpful primer on textual criticism. For those who want to get more serious (or who have slightly deeper pockets), Bruce Metzger's "A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament" is indispensable.

There are three reasons why I was lead to this book:

1) It is in the "For Further Reading" section of "Theological Liberalism: A Handful of Pebbles" by Peter Barnes (along with Machen's "Christianity and Liberalism", Murray's "Evangelicalism Divided" and Shaeffer's "The Great Evangelical Disaster". After having read Barnes' excellent book on theological liberalism I decided to work my way through his whole "For Further Reading" section.

2) I enjoyed, Linnemann's "Is there a Synoptic Problem?", which is also translated by Yarbrough.

3) The overall importance and urgency of the subject matter that Linnemann covers.

I thought that the rather lengthy proposal for evangelical learning centres should have been in the latter part of the book, rather than the former. But this is a minor gripe, and the book thoroughly deserves 5 stars.
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