Steven DiMattei: Studying the Bible Objectively

Dr. Steven DiMattei is one of my favorite biblical scholars and not simply because he isn’t a theist. Rather, DiMattei takes the Bible seriously and seeks to understand how it came to be using source criticism. He understands that the Bible is a collection of texts and didn’t just fall from the sky from God. The Bible is complicated and has a complicated history. But this approach invariably comes with pushback from inerrantists who overestimate what the Bible is. DiMattei writes,

Rather than starting from the textual data, they start from inherited, personal, or cultural premises or beliefs and then proceed to explain away the textual data. The methodology, if it can even be called that, is totally negligent of the actual text. For these types of individuals the text is only important as a vehicle to legitimate one’s personal or cultural premises irregardless of what the text actually says or does not say.

It almost goes without saying that not every Christian approaches the biblical corpus in this manner. I know quite a few who appreciate the findings of critical scholarship and acknowledge that the Bible is a very human work. But in the United States there is a large group of evangelicals and fundamentalists who will go toe-to-toe with you over claiming that the Bible has contradictions and is quite problematic in places. And the hermeneutical and exegetical gymnastics they employ to rescue inerrancy are signs of just how difficult the Bible can be. DiMattei in his work on his website shows that the Bible is full of contradictions and that those contradictions have an explanation that has to do with how the biblical texts came to be.

You can read the rest of his post here.

Featured image: By Rashi – The Jewish Museum, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29709451

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