Friday, August 11, 2006

One Last DaVinci Snipe

Reading some letters to the editor of the Christian Century about an article criticizing The DaVinci Code, I am reminded of how irritating it was, when that book came out and I blew razzberries at it, to be smugly told by liberals,

"Well, we don't know what happened, and since we don't know what happened, we should be open to a variety of interesting theories about what happened."

I would try, as gently as possible, to explain that to be a liberal religious person does not mean being a willfully credulous naif just because some theory or another personally appealed to our desires and imagination. I would explain that even non-fundamentalists have a few academic standards regarding Biblical history. This generally caused a lot of head scratching.
Before the Code came out, I had never met so many people who actually think that there's two kinds of Biblical scholarship. 1. The fundamentalist conservative type and 2. The "Make Up Whatever You Feel Like 'Cause We'll Never Know" type.

Pastors, are you offering Bible study this year?


Blogger Steve Caldwell said...


Perhaps there is a third alternative besides the "fundamentalist conservative" and the "make up whatever you feel like" choices.

I just finished reading Misquoting Jesus by Bart Ehrman. Given the POV of each Gospel and Epistle author, we should ask what influence the author's slant had on the Jesus stories.

From this start where each Biblical author has a distictive point of view, we find out that the scribes who copied the Bible before the invention of the printing press introduced intentional and unintentional changes.

In addition to unintentional human error in copying, we also find that hand-copied manuscripts were sometimes changed to support the theological POV of the scribe's religious community.

This doesn't mean that we can make up whatever we want, but it does suggest that a level of uncertainty with the Bible that we have today.

Blogger PeaceBang said...

Steve, right. I was saying that I've never MET so many people who think that there's two ways to do Biblical scholarship. I didn't say I was one of them.

Blogger jean said...

Yes, Ma'am I'm doing Bible study, and I'm re-reading N. T. Wright's three big thick books.


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