Biblical Archaeology Review 38:4, July/August 2012

Biblical Views: Critical Biblical Scholarship—What’s the Use?

By Ronald S. Hendel

I was surprised to learn recently that the mainstream of contemporary Christian philosophy has little use for critical Biblical scholarship. Alvin Plantinga, probably the most eminent member of the guild of Christian philosophers, writes:

There is no compelling or even reasonably decent argument for supposing that the procedures and assumptions of [historical Biblical criticism] are to be preferred to those of traditional Biblical commentary.1

He believes that interpreting the Bible by means of historical Biblical criticism is like “trying to mow your lawn with a nail scissors or paint your house with a toothbrush; it might be an interesting experiment if you have time on your hands.”2 But it’s basically a waste of time and effort.

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