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“Standing athwart the tide of strident voices currently demanding that we abandon confidence in the truthfulness and reliability of the Bible, the chapters in this volume constitute a defense of historic Christian confessionalism on the nature of Scripture. Mercifully, however, they are not mere regurgitations of past positions. Rather, they are informed, competent, and sometimes creative contributions that urgently deserve the widest circulation. In months and years to come, I shall repeatedly refer students and pastors to this collection.”
―D. A. Carson, Theologian-at-Large, The Gospel Coalition
“Few Christian convictions are of as pervasive importance as the absolute perfection of Scripture―and few convictions fall under more perennial criticism. Hence the need for this volume, which seeks to defend the evangelical doctrine of biblical inerrancy against scholars who argue that in accommodating his truth to human understanding, God has made his Word susceptible to error. Here James Hoffmeier, Dennis Magary, and a broad range of learned colleagues take seriously the self-witness of Scripture and respond to some of the latest, hardest objections to inerrancy by providing clear, comprehensive, persuasive, and charitable answers. Do Historical Matters Matter to Faith? is an invaluable resource for any student of Scripture who doubts the doctrine of inerrancy or has serious questions about the historical reliability of the Bible.”
―Philip Graham Ryken, President, Wheaton College
“To scholars unconvinced of the classical Christian doctrine of Holy Scripture, Do Historical Matters Matter to Faith? offers a challenge both substantive in its argumentation and respectful in its tone. To scholars convinced of this doctrine, this volume models how to advance the argument on a multidisciplinary, evidentialist basis. We owe the editors and authors a debt of gratitude.”
―Raymond C. Ortlund Jr., Pastor to Pastors, Immanuel Church, Nashville, Tennessee
“The debate over biblical inerrancy is a crucial issue for evangelicals. Do Historical Matters Matter to Faith? is an important response to this challenge, and its essays, written by leading evangelical scholars, present a robust defense of the reliability of the historical narratives of the Bible. The book makes a compelling case that holding to inerrancy does not mean one must avoid examining the issues raised by critical scholarship, but rather the accuracy of Scripture can itself be the conclusion of a reasoned and critical examination of the evidence.”
―Michelle Lee-Barnewall, Associate Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies, Biola University; author, Paul, the Stoics, and the Body of Christ
“This is a book that has been sorely needed. The Bible has long been under attack from those outside evangelical faith, and now more recently from those supposedly inside. Here in one volume the questions are addressed in a comprehensive way, including theological, historical-critical, and archaeological issues. Written with an irenic tone―and yet confronting the questions directly―this book will surely take a prominent place on the shelves of all those who love the Bible and look for solid answers to give to its detractors. The editors are to be commended for bringing the book to fruition and for their breadth of vision in organizing it.”
―John Oswalt, author, Called to Be Holy and The NIV Application Commentary: Isaiah
“James Hoffmeier and Dennis Magary have assembled a first-rate team of evangelical writers to join them in exploring the historical issues related to the interpretation of Holy Scripture and the formation of Christian theology. Each chapter makes a significant contribution to this comprehensive and focused volume―which both affirms and defends the complete truthfulness and full authority of the Bible while fully engaging the questions and challenges raised by modern and postmodern approaches to biblical interpretation. Informative and winsome, this impressive work will be immensely helpful for a generation of students, pastors, and scholars alike.”
―David S. Dockery, Distinguished Professor of Theology, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
“How evangelicals view the Bible has been, and continues to be, under attack. This volume effectively defends the Bible’s historicity and adeptly explains why it matters. Any pastor or person teaching and defending the Bible will be greatly helped by this book.”
―Alistair Begg, Senior Pastor, Parkside Church, Chagrin Falls, Ohio
“Today, some so-called evangelicals have questioned and outright denied the full extent of the inerrancy, authority, and trustworthiness of God’s Word, claiming it may apply to faith and practice but not to history and science. As disturbing as these claims are against the Scriptures, I give thanks to God that they have prompted an excellent response, so that we now have a much stronger foundation for affirming the inerrancy of God’s Word, including matters of history. Do Historical Matters Matter to Faith? is one of the best and most thorough treatments in defense of the Bible as completely true and trustworthy in the realm of history. It is a much-needed antidote to some so-called evangelicals’ unhealthy (and inaccurate) view of inerrancy. In matters relating to the doctrine of the Scriptures, this will be the book I recommend to pastors and leaders. It will serve them and the church well, and deserves the highest of commendations!”
―Gregory C. Strand, Director of Biblical Theology and Credentialing, Evangelical Free Church of America
“Here is a collection of first-rate essays written by an international team of scholars, each affirming what must be called the historic Christian view of Holy Scripture―that the Bible, God’s Word written, is trustworthy and totally true in all that it affirms. Rather than simply rehearsing platitudes of the past, this volume advances the argument in the light of current debate and recent challenges. A magisterial undertaking to be reckoned with.”
―Timothy George, Distinguished Professor of Divinity, Beeson Divinity School, Samford University
“In recent decades evangelicals have felt increasing pressure to abandon their high views of Scripture―a pressure that comes not only from scholars outside their circles, but also from some inside. This volume represents a welcome response to both, but especially to the latter. The contributors represent evangelical scholarship at its best as they address critical challenges with clarity and conviction, even while keeping their tone civil and charitable. This book will serve as a handy reference tool for students, pastors, and scholars who need a fair and responsible treatment of the evidence and clear declaration of their conclusions.”
―Daniel I. Block, Gunther H. Knoedler Professor Emeritus of Old Testament, Wheaton College; author, The Triumph of Grace and For the Glory of God
“Twenty-first-century hubris insists on immediate answers from a Book of great antiquity that is fundamentally about God’s intervention in human history. Yet even with advances in scientific archaeological method and modern scholarship, there is still much to learn about the Bible’s ancient setting, language, history, and sociopolitical context. This book engages honestly with a number of thorny issues concerning the history and evidence for key biblical narratives. Its propositions are robustly defended in a clear yet scholarly fashion, making it accessible to informed lay and academic readers alike. I commend it to anyone seeking an orthodox evangelical perspective on the flash points in current debates about the historicity of the Scriptures.”
―Karin Sowada, CEO, Anglican Deaconess Ministries Ltd.; Hon. Research Associate, Macquarie University
“Singapore Bible College was founded in 1952 to uphold the authority of God’s Word at the time when the Scriptures were under severe attack from the liberals of that era. Today, we are a living testimony to the effectiveness and authority of God’s Word as we expound a Bible-based theological education. The mocking of the Word of God did not liberate people from what the liberals claimed to be superstition or outdated scholarship. But it did destroy the faith of many poorly grounded believers, confused the church concerning her mission and purpose, created tension in the mission field, and set the church backward on many fronts in Asia and elsewhere. James Hoffmeier and Dennis Magary have assembled an able team of evangelical scholars to address and defend the issues of the authority of God’s Word from the theological, biblical, and archaeological perspectives. They are not afraid to face the issues head-on in a comprehensive and thorough manner, yet with the right spirit. I hope this book will help many students of the Scriptures to have a deeper conviction of the authoritative and inerrant Word of God.”
―Albert Ting, Principal, Singapore Bible College
“This volume well documents the analysis and evidence integral to understanding the role of historical data in biblical understanding. The authors are to be congratulated for writing a book that would withstand rigorous cross-examination!”
―Mark Lanier, President, Christian Trial Lawyers Association; author of numerous legal books and articles; owner, Lanier Theological Library
“To the credit of its editors and authors, this book is not so much a reaction to the recent statements of Peter Enns and Kenton Sparks on biblical inerrancy, which called it forth, but an apologetic response to their works. To that effect, it is not a monument to the doctrine, but rather an advancement of its method and intent.”
―C. Hassell Bullock, Pastor, Warren Park Presbyterian Church, Cicero, Illinois; Franklin S. Dyrness Professor of Biblical Studies Emeritus, Wheaton College
“This is a timely work, both in the sense that it addresses an emerging issue―a loss of confidence in the historicity of the Bible―and in the sense that its authors are conversant in the current state of the debate. The topics discussed include all the essentials: the foundational theological issues, the major source-critical and historical-critical questions, and matters arising from archaeology. This book will be a valuable resource for both scholars and students.”
―Duane A. Garrett, Professor of Old Testament, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; author, A Modern Grammar for Biblical Hebrew and Amos: A Handbook on the Hebrew Text
“This is a brilliant response to evangelical skeptics such as Peter Enns and Kenton Sparks, and, in a broader sense, also to mainstream skeptics such as Philip Davies, Keith Whitelam, or Robert Coote. The list of contributors is a stellar lineup of first-rate scholars in their disciplines who defend the traditional, orthodox view of Scripture as historically reliable in sophisticated and convincing ways. Even those who might remain unconvinced of the book’s main argument will have to rethink their positions. I highly recommend this work.”
―David M. Howard Jr., Professor of Old Testament, Bethel University, St. Paul, Minnesota
“This book takes us to the front lines of many of the contemporary confrontations in critical scholarship, addressing the skeptics head-on. A host of able defenders contend for the trustworthiness of the Bible in the face of critical challenges and fairly criticize some of the ‘assured results’ of biblical criticism―opening the way for a more confident faith. Only the Holy Spirit himself can fully confirm the truth of God’s Word, but he can use books like this to confound the doubter and affirm the faithful.”
―Bill Kynes, Senior Pastor, Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church, Annandale, Virginia; author, A Christology of Solidarity
“This is a thoughtful and heartening response to Sparks and other progressive evangelicals who believe the time has come to move beyond what they perceive to be an outdated view of Scripture’s inerrancy. Those seeking to rightly handle the word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15) will find here methodological, philosophical, theological, archaeological, and geographical resources for navigating the historical context of Scripture that call attention to its divine origins. Hoffmeier and Magary have provided a great service to the academy and church in this scholarly compilation of evangelical writers who conserve the tradition of the plenary inspiration and inerrancy of the Old and New Testament Scriptures. Soli Deo gloria.”
―Laura C. Miguélez, Adjunct Professor of Theology, Wheaton College
About the Author
James K. Hoffmeier (PhD, University of Toronto), taught at the undergraduate and graduate levels for more than thirty years. He most recently served as professor of Old Testament and Near Eastern archaeology at Trinity International University. Born and raised in Egypt, he has been a refugee from war and an alien in two different countries, making him sensitive to immigration issues.
DENNIS R. MAGARY, (PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison) is chair of the department and associate professor of Old Testament and Semitic languages at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
Distinguished Professor of New Testament, Denver Seminary
Darrell L. Bock (PhD, University of Aberdeen) is executive director for cultural engagement at the Hendricks Center, senior research professor of New Testament studies at Dallas Theological Seminary, and senior Bible teacher for Back to the Bible radio. He is the author of over forty books. Darrell lives in Dallas, Texas, with his wife, Sally. They have three children and four grandchildren.
, Emeritus Rankin Professor of Hebrew and Ancient Semitic Languages, The University of Liverpool
- Item Weight : 1.69 pounds
- Paperback : 544 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1433525712
- ISBN-13 : 978-1433525711
- Product Dimensions : 6 x 1.36 x 9 inches
- Publisher : Crossway (February 29, 2012)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #670,823 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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This book provides a balanced perspective that acknowledges the problems and gives credible answers that deal with the issues. It goes beyond the stock response of "That's just anti-supernatural bias" by taking into account historical setting and literary genre
author, You Bet Your Life
The natural question, then, is simple: does the history that is presented in the Bible actually matter to the Christian faith? What are we to make of all the current skeptics of the Bible and the advocates for its distrust?
A recent work has taken on this very issue, Do Historical Matters Matter to Faith?, edited by James K. Hoffmeier and Dennis R. Magary. Over twenty scholars contribute well-researched essays that cover a variety of topics, including issues related to Biblical, Systematic, & Historical Theology, the Old & New Testaments, and Biblical Archaeology.
There's a lot covered here, so where do we begin? Since this is a blog review and not an academic journal, I'll keep try and cover the essential details that some of my readers will be interested in.
First, I believe the book accomplishes it's purpose. John D. Woodbridge writes in the foreword that he hopes that "this volume will strengthen the convictions of evangelical Christians who believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God (including its historical narratives), but also that it will serve as an attractive invitation to those readers who have dismissed this stance to reconsider their commitment to biblical errancy" (p. 18). As one who holds to "reasonable inerrancy," I found the essays strengthen my convictions. And as one who interacts with and has friends who would not hold to classic inerrancy, I believe this work is fairly irenic and the invitation to engage exists. Of course, time will tell if those who deny inerrancy will interact with Do Historical Matters Matter to Faith?, but the invitation stands nonetheless.
Second, one of the reasons why this book accomplishes its purpose is because it's fairly wide in scope. For those familiar with the issue of the historicity of Scripture, the Old Testament presents some significant "problems" that must be carefully researched and interacted with. I found "Part 2: The Old Testament and Issues of History, Authenticity, and Authority" as well as "Part 4: The Old Testament and Archaeology" to both be excellent places to begin when engaging modern (and post-modern) critical scholarship. The sections on the various theological disciplines (biblical, systematic, & historical) as well as the section covering the New Testament were equally good, though I have found that the OT tends to receive a great deal of attention from those who take issue with any sense of "inerrancy." At least that has been my experience when interacting with people over the years. Questions regarding the truthfulness of what is found in the OT are the most common. Did Exodus really happen? Did the exodus really bring the Hebrews to cross the Red Sea (reed sea??), as the water was divided? Can we really trust the narratives found in Genesis? Over and over again, questions are raised.
Third, the scholars that contribute to Do Historical Matters Matter to Faith? are well selected. Those who write on the theological issues are well suited (e.g., McCall, Cole, Thompson), as well as those in the OT sections (e.g., Averbeck, Bergen, Monson), and the NT (e.g., Yarbrough, Blomberg, Bock, Schnabel, Davis). I was more familiar with the NT authors, as each of them is well known in the NT world, but found each essay representative of the best that evangelicalism has to offer.
Fourth, and this is really connected to the quality of the contributors, the essays are very well researched. It's safe to say that readers will walk away with a long list of "further reading" sources. Plus, the fact that this book uses footnotes (instead of the hell-inspired end-notes) makes for simpler scholarly reading. The sources and extra information is right there at the bottom.
For me, stand out essays in each section were as follows:
Part 1: Biblical, Systematic, and Historical Theology
Graham A. Cole's "The Peril of a "Historyless" Systematic Theology." Every systematician should be required to read this essay. Exegetes who are frustrated with lazy proof-texting will be encouraged to read a theologian emphasizing the importance of taking history seriously. He writes that "this gospel (news) is an interpretation of history. At its core is an interpreted event: Christ died (event) for our sins (interpretation). Systematic Theology done without sufficient sensitivity to this news is full of peril" (p. 68). Excellent.
Part 2: The Old Testament and issues of History, Authenticity, and Authority
For me, a tie exists between Robert B. Chrisholm Jr.'s "Old Testament Source Criticism: Some Methodological Miscues" and Richard L. Schultz's "Isaiah, Isaiahs, and Current Scholarship."
Chrisholm effectively counters the various theories related to the Documentary Hypothesis as it's step-children views as he points out the problematic methods that many source critics follow. According to Chrisholm, where you begin greatly affects (determines?) where you will end up. This is to say that critics who approach Scripture with a strong biases regarding the "source" can easily end up manipulating the text (and its meaning).
Schultz's essay on the debate regarding the authorship of Isaiah was very informative and helped strengthen my resolve to stand upon a single author perspective. The assumption of so many OT scholars regarding the multiple authors of one of the most quoted OT books in the NT needs to be challenged, and this essay does a great job of doing it. He largely interacts with two scholars, John Halsey Wood and Kenton Sparks, and point by point responds to their criticisms of holding to Isaiah being written by a single author. These two essays will prove to be invaluable resources in the future to come.
Part 3: The New Testament and Issues of History, Authenticity, and Authority
There's another tie in this section, only this time it's between three essays. Craig L. Blomberg's "A Constructive Traditional Response to New Testament Criticism," Darrell L. Bock's "Precision and Accuracy: Making Distinctions in the Cultural Context That Give Us Pause in Pitting the Gospels against Each Other," and Eckhard J. Schnabel's "Paul, Timothy, and Titus: The Assumption of a Pseudonymous Author and of Pseudonymous Recipients in Light of Literary, Theological, and Historical Evidence" are all first-rate essays that address extremely important issues when it comes to NT studies.
Blomberg's essay on how to respond to issues related to New Testament criticism is extremely balanced. He concludes by suggesting that those who are on what I'd call the "left side" of the theological spectrum (theological liberals) need not adopt "radical approaches" regarding the New Testament and that those on the "far right" (theological fundamentalists) need not "anathematize" scholars who suggest and explore different options as proposed solutions to NT "problems." These are good suggestions. One need not jump to "liberal" presuppositions in the quest of understanding some of the issues related to the NT's history and authenticity. There are a lot of solutions to many of the alleged discrepancies. And yet just because someone suggests something that is a bit "unorthodox" (new!) does not mean we should ostracize that scholar and remove him/her from every evangelical organization he/she is a part of . As Blomberg writes, "If new proposals (or at least proposals that are new for otherwise evangelical scholars) cannot withstand scholarly rigor, then let their refutations proceed at that level, with convincing scholarship, rather than with the kind of censorship that makes one wonder whether those who object have no persuasive reply and so have to resort simply to demonizing and/or silencing voices with which they disagree" (pp. 364-5). Amen!
Bock's essay on the Gospels is fairly introductory, but should be ready by anyone who is involved in attempting to harmonize the Synoptics or John or for those attempting to better understand the issues related to how they either fit together, compliment each other, or contradict each other. His essay is a good introduction to understanding how the Gospels relate to each other. Beginning with explaining the basic difference between reporting the "voice of Jesus" (ipsissima vox) in contrast to the exact words of Jesus (ipsissima verba), Bock briefly addresses a number of concerns related to the "consistency" between the four Gospels. It's a good introduction for those with basic questions.
Schnabel takes Pauline pseudonymy up in his essay. A great deal of NT scholars do not believe that the apostle Paul wrote the "Pastoral" epistles (Timothy and Titus). Exposing the assumption that "majority" equates to correctness, Schnabel closes his essay by writing that "as the evidence that has been surveyed demonstrates, there are good reasons to accept the Pauline authorship of these three letters." Space limitation prevents me from detailing his detailed reasoning, but I assure you that this essay is critical, scholarly, and detailed. It may be one of the best short (21 pages) essays on the subject.
Part 4: The Old Testament and Archaeology
The last section of Do Historical Matters Matter to Faith? is admittedly an area I am least familiar with. I have some books on biblical archaeology, but it's most certainly my weakest area of knowledge. Maps make me dizzy and excavations sound boring unless mummies are involved and they are starring Brendan Fraser. Yet while I'll quickly acknowledge this is not my area of expertise, I understand that it is huge for biblical studies... HUGE! There have been some extremely important archaeological finds that have substantially given support to the historicity of the Bible. This is often tied up with apologetics (the defense of the faith), but also impacts our understanding of Scripture too.
That being said, each of the four essays from this section were interesting, informative, and well written. I found John M. Monson's "Enter Joshua: The "Mother of Current Debate" in Biblical Archaeology" quite fascinating to read because I simply was unaware of how controversial Joshua was. Monson's essay does a great job of discussing the importance of understanding the genre and how that needs to be carefully understood in how we interact with the material and both internal and external evidence. The Joshua is an "Ancient Near Eastern Text" that must be understood in light of its literary contributions according to the ancient world's "rules," not our own.
Over all, Do Historical Matters Matter to Faith? provides top notch essays from well respected scholars that provide an excellent example of evangelical scholarship interact with critical issues related to the Bible. Do historical matters matter? Yes. Yes they do. And since they matter, this is a great book to utilize in the search for truth. Apologetic, irenic, comprehensive, and inviting... Do Historical Matters Matter to Faith? will get you started in your quest for a better understanding of why we can trust Scripture and why it is not unreasonable to remain "evangelical."
flood 40 days or 150 days? How has the doctrine of inspiration and inerrancy functioned
throughout Church history? What is the impact of postmodern epistemology upon biblical
hermeneutics? Does any of this matter? What is an evangelical to make of the dominance of the
documentary hypothesis in mainline scholarship? These are just a sampling of the questions
James Hoffmeier and Dennis Magary set out to tackle in the editorial oversight of their
collection of scholarly essays presented as “Do Historical Matters Matter To Faith? An Appraisal
of Modern and Postmodern Approaches to Scripture.” The collection of essays come from over
20 leading biblical scholars and theologians; each interacting with a major critique of the
veracity of the Scriptures stemming from mainline scholarship. Hoffmeier and Magary seek to
defend a broadly evangelical approach to Scripture which is nonetheless clear-eyed in the face of
The collection of essays is organized into four major parts: 1) Biblical, Systematic,
and Historical Theology 2) The Old Testament and Issues of History, 3) The New Testament and
Issues of History, 4) The Old Testament and Archeology. These four parts make up the structure
of the book and provide a broad outline of how the essays are grouped in order to deal with the
major challenges to the veracity of the Scriptures.
The first part of the book enlists biblical,
systematic, and historical theologians to respond to the epistemological foundations undergirding the consensus of critical biblical scholarship. Thomas McCall pens the first essay entitled
“Religious Epistemology, Theological Interpretation, and Critical Biblical Scholarship” in which
McCall explores several approaches to the art and science of knowing. After interacting with the
claims of critical biblical scholars and assessing them along the lines of warranted belief, he
finds those core assumptions of the critical biblical scholars to be problematic. He then
demonstrates the way in which a believer who assumes the authority of Jesus’ own words enjoys
an epistemological warrant for that belief. He closes his essay with a gentle rebuke of critical
biblical scholars who have become overly confident in the philosophical basis of their
interpretive scheme. One of the other standout essays in this section is penned by Mark
Thompson, entitled “The Divine Investment in Truth; Toward a Theological Account of Biblical
Inerrancy”. In this essay, Thompson responds to overly simplistic caricatures of the doctrine of
biblical inerrancy and then provides both an exegetical defense of the doctrine and a fully
developed theological rationale centered in the doctrine of God. The theological account
Thompson offers is supported by five pillars; 1) God’s personal veracity, 2) God’s concursive
involvement in the created order, 3) God’s willingness to accommodate Himself for our sake, 4)
God’s creation and use of human speech and writing, 5) God’s gift of Scripture. He closes the
essay with a call to renewed faithfulness in reading the Scriptures as God’s Word to humanity,
even in the face of difficulties.
The second part of the book is a collection of essays dealing with the Old Testament
and issues of history. Of the many detailed offerings in this section of the book, two fine essays
stand out. The first is from Robert B. Chisholm Jr. and is entitled “Old Testament Source
Criticism.” In this essay, Chisholm deals with several of the fundamental methodological
assumptions underlying the conclusions of the source-critical scholars. He tackles the question of doublets in the flood narrative, and David’s introduction to Saul’s court; two of the source
critic’s most classically defensible texts for their theory of composition. Chisholm shows how
the source critics have assumed doublets are evidence of differing sources, but in fact, they can
just as easily be literary devices meant to cue the auditory senses of the original hearer to
important contours in the story. Chisholm finds literary functions and frameworks of
interpretation and symmetry where text-critical scholars are all too eager to find errors or
disunity in the text. Another standout essay in this section addresses a rather different issue in
OT interpretation; that of cultural memory. Jens Bruun Kofoed teases out two different models
for how societies have interacted with knowledge of the past; that of historiography and cultural
memorials. Kofoed argues the text of the OT is best understood not as an attempt at modern
historiography in which an objective recounting of the facts is attempted, but instead as a cultural
memory bank through which the identity of Israel is carried on. This is not to say the OT doesn’t
present a factual account of the past but highlights the way in which the recounting of the
facts functions as a narrative formation for the identity of Israel in the context of the present.
Therefore, criticisms of the OT as ahistorical according to modern standards of historiography
miss the point of the texts by a mile.
The third part of the book is a collection of essays dealing with the NT issues of
history. Darrell Bock offers an essay on the distinction between precision and accuracy in the
Gospel accounts. He argues the genre of ancient biography must be considered and understood in
order to rightly classify the gospels as a form of literature prior to assessing a standard for their
composition and accuracy or precision. As ancient bios, the emphasis on retelling events and
even capturing the sayings of Jesus would have been slightly different than modern
historiographical accounts. Critics who point out differences in the accounts at the level of the
order of events or specificity of the sayings are on an adventure in missing the point. The
accounts were meant to display the life and significance of an important person, not capture
every detail of their lives with an exhaustive collection.
The final section of the book is a collection of essays surveying the Old Testament
and archeology. The first essay comes from John Monson and is entitled “Enter Joshua: The
Mother of Current Debates in Biblical Archeology.” Monson shows how understanding the
Ancient Near Eastern context sheds light upon the Joshua narrative as part of a larger
Deuteronomic account it can be seen as a piece of military writing, and therefore much more
plausible in its accounting of the Canaanite conquest. Overall the final section of the book shares
compelling essays in favor of the veracity of the OT in light of enjoying broad support from
archeology once the texts in question are situated within an Ancient Near Eastern genre context.
What do we make of these arguments? Are they sufficient to meet the burden of
debunking the critiques of the critical biblical scholars? I have only shared a small sample of the
many essays included in this volume. The overall quality of work is exceptional, the arguments
clear, and the scholarship is engaging and thorough. Each essay deals with a different set of
critiques from critical scholarship and handles them with thoroughgoing erudition and integrity.
It is not possible to assess the contours of every argument in this review, but the few I have
sampled should assure the reader of the value of this book. The claims of critical biblical
scholars are largely tied up in an interpretive framework which is proving theoretically
cumbersome, textually leaky, and epistemologically simplistic. If anything, this collection of
essays has shown the many ways in which the Bible can and should be read as a coherent
tapestry of meaning; the very Word of God.
In conclusion, I would recommend this book to anyone who has interacted with
critical biblical scholars and wonders if there is an alternative way of interpreting the data of the
Bible. There certainly is, and this collection of essays is a veritable who’s who of credible
biblical scholars who do interpret the text with the level of reverence and coherence native to the