FRDB Archives

Freethought & Rationalism Archive

The archives are read only.


Go Back   FRDB Archives > Archives > Biblical Criticism - 2001
Welcome, Peter Kirby.
You last visited: Today at 05:55 AM

Notices

 
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 03-04-2001, 07:28 AM   #11
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Hubzilla:
I was wondering if any of you could recommend some bible criticism books. Books describing historical and secular views of its development, the book dates, the canon decisions, the interpolations, and the historicity (sic) of the events described within.

</font>
I have already provided a suggested list of books, but I would like to add a few comments. If you wish to read the works of those who do not have a Christian bias, implicit or explicit, go with Robin Lane Fox, John Allegro, Morton Smith, Charles Guignebert, R. Joseph Hoffman, G. A. Wells, Michael Grant, Helmut Koester, Randel McCraw Helms, Joseph Wheless, John E. Remsberg, E. R. Dodds, F. C. Conybeare, E. P. Sanders, and William Harwood.

If you wish to read the works of writers who think Jesus may not have been an historical person, try Alvar Ellegard, Robert M. Price, Earl Doherty, or John Mackinnon Robertson.

Writers who may be Christians but seem to have little or no Christian bias are Bart D. Ehrman, Helmut Koester, S.G.F. Brandon, Morton Enslin, Alfred Loisy, Robert W. Funk, John Dominic Crossan, Elaine Pagels, and Stevan Davies.

While I respect the knowledge and scholarship of John P. Meier and the late Raymond E. Brown, it should be duly noted that Meier is a Catholic priest, and Brown was also a practicing priest up until his death. It is up to you to decide if they can be as unbiased as someone who has no vested interest in the JC Bible.

Daniel Wallace is associated with a Christian evangelical website. Again, you should decide if you think he can be as impartial as someone who has no vested interest in the Bible.

Ron

 
Old 03-04-2001, 09:16 AM   #12
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Hubzilla:
I was wondering if any of you could recommend some bible criticism books. Books describing historical and secular views of its development, the book dates, the canon decisions, the interpolations, and the historicity (sic) of the events described within.

</font>
I think this was a thoughtful request. The better informed we are, the better we can argue our respective viewpoints. Thanks to all those who have responded.

 
Old 03-04-2001, 04:18 PM   #13
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Smile

"If you would like to email me, I can provide a more extensive listing of books, with some commentary on each.

Ron"

Thanks for the offer, right now I'm still only halfway through these.

 
Old 03-04-2001, 05:20 PM   #14
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Thumbs down

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by penatis:
[b]Nomad: A quick scan through some of the reviews on Amazon.com shows me some of the common fallacies or the amateur being repeated.

Why don't you read the book BEFORE you dismiss it as the work of some "amateur who repeats common fallacies?"</font>
Now I know why you do so badly in your posts penatis. You don't bother actually READ what I wrote.

Read my quote again, then tell me how you mde the leap from my cricizing the reviewers to thinking I was somehow criticising the authors. Your mind truly does work in mysterious ways.

On the other hand, now that I have learned that you think that G.A. Wells is a NT scholar (you know he was a professor of German right?), and Akenson too (he is a professor of Irish), I am gaining a much better appreciation of how you make your conclusions. IOW anyone who feeds your prejudices is an expert.

Toodles big guy.

Nomad
 
Old 03-05-2001, 08:14 AM   #15
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

Hubzilla, the books that have been listed here by everyone are great! John P. Meier's works are very insightful and have wonderful footnotes where you will find many other scholar's works (both for and against his ideas). Meier refers very often to Raymond Brown's works (Birth of the Messiah, Death of the Messiah, and Intro to the NT). Raymond Brown's works are monumental.

Marduk mentioned some excellent books as well, although some are slightly liberal for my tastes (but then I'm a Christian, so whaddya expect ). Frank Moore Cross is probably the most notable of his grouping (at least in my opinion. However, Earl Doherty does not have adequate credentials in my eyes. Doherty does make some good observations, but they are not new ones. As far as I know there are not many scholars who take his work too seriously. As a matter of fact, Doherty seems to imply on his website that John Dominic Crossan (another interesting scholar listed by Marduk) never even read the manuscript of The Jesus Puzzle that was given to him.

The book sentinel00 mentions and "The Secular Web" currently has a book review for is not so good in my opinion (The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology's New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of its Sacred Texts). As Richard Carrier mentions in his review, Biblical Archaeology Review (BAR) gave it a bad review. I also believe Richard Carrier's letter is an overreaction to Dever's article. I'm curious to see whether it even gets published in the next issue. I don't believe that Carrier really read and understood Dever's arguments against the book. Nor do I believe that Carrier realizes that Dever's positions were misrepresented in this book. I imagine there is some good data in the book, but it is an oversimplification for the lay-reader. In its oversimplification of issues it can lead the uninformed reader into believing something that is not necessarily correct. Israel Finkelstein, one of the authors, presents some of his "non-mainstream views" on the development of Israel as a nation and is criticised by Dever for the way it is presented.

Anyway, coming back down off my "soap-box", I'll present a few books that I think are excellent for information on the Bible's "development, the book dates, the canon decisions, the interpolations, and the historicity of the events described within" as you put it above.

Bruce Manning Metzger is an incredible and well-respected scholar who has extensive experience with the formation of the canon of the New Testament. The specific books that I would recommend are: The Canon of the New Testament : Its Origin, Development, and Significance and The Text of the New Testament : Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration. If you still have a hunger, you can also find these two (among others) by Metzger: The Early Versions of the New Testament : Their Origin, Transmission, and Limitations and Manuscripts of the Greek Bible : An Introduction to Paleography. Metzger is one of the major scholars behind the United Bible Scholar's (UBS) Greek New Testament and Commentary on the Greek New Testament.

To warn you beforehand, Metzger is a Christian. However, he presents his data in a most unbiased fashion, and his reputable work is utilized by most scholars of the secular flavor as well.

Happy reading!
Ish


[This message has been edited by Ish (edited March 05, 2001).]
 
Old 03-05-2001, 10:24 AM   #16
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Nomad:
Now I know why you do so badly in your posts penatis. You don't bother actually READ what I wrote.

Oh, I think I do okay in my posts, but your opinion is duly noted.

Nomad: Read my quote again, then tell me how you mde the leap from my cricizing the reviewers to thinking I was somehow criticising the authors. Your mind truly does work in mysterious ways.

Here is what you wrote:
A quick scan through some of the reviews on Amazon.com shows me some of the common fallacies or the amateur being repeated. For example, while the book appears to say that there is no historical archeological evidence for Abraham, Moses and the 40 year wandering (one is left to wonder what kind of evidence one would find 4000 years later on nomadic peoples), more than one reviewer has concluded these people never existed at all!

What you have in your mind is not always transcribed unambiguously in your posts. But, since you have clarified your meaning, let me re-phrase my question:

Why don't you read the book BEFORE you jump to conclusions based on the words of a few reviewers of the book?

Nomad: On the other hand, now that I have learned that you think that G.A. Wells is a NT scholar (you know he was a professor of German right?), and Akenson too (he is a professor of Irish), I am gaining a much better appreciation of how you make your conclusions.

Now, I will tell you something. Go back and read again what I wrote. Please tell me where I said I think G.A. Wells is a New Testament scholar. Find where I said Akenson is a New Testament scholar and point it out. Your mind truly works in mysterious ways, Nomad.

Nomad: IOW anyone who feeds your prejudices is an expert.

My only prejudice is my desire to find out what happened in history.

Nomad: Toodles big guy.

And Peace, Love, and Toodles to you, Nomad.

 
Old 03-05-2001, 10:48 AM   #17
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

penatis, I accidentally skipped your post when writing my earlier post.

Though I'm afraid I'm not particularly impressed by Wells work, you have listed some very good books. Many of them are quite secular, but very good scholarship. I have not yet had the chance to read the books listed by Helmut Koester, but I plan to because they are mentioned very often by Crossan especially, Meier, and many others. I went to a seminary library the other day and glanced through his Intro to the NT and it looks like it was very technical and would be a great read. Meier mentions his Ancient Christian Gospels many times, though he tends to disagree with many of Koester's conclusions.

I'm not impressed with Morton Smith's Jesus the magician. He implies Jesus' homosexuality based on his interpretations of "The secret gospel of Mark" which he discovered and photographed before it mysteriously disappeared. Many scholars accept secret Mark but many still reject it. His book is an interesting read, but I wouldn't put much weight behind his conclusions.

Geza Vermes, who has worked extensively with the Dead Sea Scrolls, is very good. His book that you listed is also a good read. He also has a book of the complete dead sea scrolls translated into English (probably the best over F. Martinez's version even).

F.F. Bruce also has some very good books on the NT canon as well as other interesting topics.

Finally, I have a book at home that talks about OT criticism, maybe I can list it later. However, since most of the books here deal with the NT, how about listing more books that talk about the canon of the OT, its formation, its different versions, etc.

Thanks,
Ish
 
Old 03-05-2001, 11:43 AM   #18
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Hubzilla:
I was wondering if any of you could recommend some bible criticism books. Books describing historical and secular views of its development, the book dates, the canon decisions, the interpolations, and the historicity (sic) of the events described within.

</font>
This one is hot off the presses: "Reading the Bible Again for the First Time," by Marcus Borg, subtitled "Taking the Bible Seriously but not Literally."

I am about halfway through it. Borg is one of those easy-to-understand biblical scholars who was active in the infamous Jesus Seminar a few years ago. He uses the military way of communicating complex ideas in a simple, readable and defininetly not condescending style:

1. He tells you what he is going to tell you.

2. He tells you.

3. He tells you what he has told you.

Borg has also written a book called "Jesus: A New Vision" and another one called "Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time." Both put Jesus solidly into his historical setting and both try to find a core substance in Jesus' words and deeds which will give meaning to the post-modern world we live in now. Borg's Jesus is a compassionate yet forceful boundary-shatterer who lived out his vision of what the Kingdom of God was like and ultimately died for that vision.

 
Old 03-05-2001, 11:57 AM   #19
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by penatis:

Here is what you wrote:
A quick scan through some of the reviews on Amazon.com shows me some of the common fallacies or the amateur being repeated. For example, while the book appears to say that there is no historical archeological evidence for Abraham, Moses and the 40 year wandering (one is left to wonder what kind of evidence one would find 4000 years later on nomadic peoples), more than one reviewer has concluded these people never existed at all!
What you have in your mind is not always transcribed unambiguously in your posts. But, since you have clarified your meaning, let me re-phrase my question:
Why don't you read the book BEFORE you jump to conclusions based on the words of a few reviewers of the book?</font>
And here we go again penatis.

Point out in my post where I made any statement ABOUT the book based on the reviews. I was criticizing the reviews themselves because they make a number of the common fallacies I see amongst amateurs. Most notably, they draw conclusions that the authors of the book would NEVER make. This is plainly irresponsible on the part of the reviewers, and they should learn from their mistakes. My hope is that those that post here will learn not to make these kinds of mistakes.

So, bottom line, I have formed no opinion at all about the book itself. I certainly wouldn’t trust the reviews by a few yahoos. But I also noted that I am not an expert on the OT, and plan to read Who Wrote the Bible? by Richard Elliott Friedman first. I have heard that this book is exceptionally good, and it would give me something to compare the newer book against.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Now, I will tell you something. Go back and read again what I wrote. Please tell me where I said I think G.A. Wells is a New Testament scholar. Find where I said Akenson is a New Testament scholar and point it out. </font>
From your post of March 04, 2001 08:28 AM :

I have already provided a suggested list of books, but I would like to add a few comments. If you wish to read the works of those who do not have a Christian bias, implicit or explicit, go with Robin Lane Fox, John Allegro, Morton Smith, Charles Guignebert, R. Joseph Hoffman, G. A. Wells, Michael Grant, Helmut Koester, Randel McCraw Helms, Joseph Wheless, John E. Remsberg, E. R. Dodds, F. C. Conybeare, E. P. Sanders, and William Harwood.

Now, on this list are a number of true scholars of the NT. How or why you would include an eccentric like GA Wells amonst such esteemed company escapes me. And if you do not consider him to be an NT scholar (considering the only Biblical studies he HAS done is on the NT), why did you include him on your list?

As for Akenson, I thought I had seen you quote from him recently. If that was not you, then I apologize.

Nomad

P.S. I noticed that you had Robert Funk on your list of Christian scholars that may not have a bias. He is actually a lapsed Christian and a very vocal atheist.
 
Old 03-05-2001, 01:15 PM   #20
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

Oh, I just noticed John Allegro (who did a lot of work with the Dead Sea Scrolls) mentioned. He wrote the book about Jesus and his disciples being some sort of "halucinogenic mushroom cult". For this strange book, he was pretty much ousted from the scholarly community. Many of the best books on the DSS mention him in quite a derogatory way...check Vanderkam, Shanks, Vermes, etc. So, this is not someone I would list except for rounding out your knowledge of those who worked with the Dead Sea Scrolls early on.

Ish
 
 

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 01:09 PM.

Top

This custom BB emulates vBulletin® Version 3.8.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.