Where to start? Recommended resources for the perplexed.

Let’s get two things out of the way. First, I’m not an expert. My professional and initial recreational interests were definitely STEM, and then some. In fact, if C.P. Snow had used me as an example in his The Two Cultures lecture, I’d be ten kilometres to the left of the science nerds at school who thought anything softer than inorganic chemistry was a pseudoscience. While the need to honestly appraise the source text at the heart of my faith, as well as the discovery that the humanities are fascinating have resulted in me acquiring a disturbingly large library on subjects ranging from Iron Age Levantine archaeology to NW Semitic languages, I am very much a well-read amateur. In short, if you’ve majored in archaeology, biblical languages, or any other related disciplines at university, you’ll know more than me. Much more.

Secondly, while this website references historical criticism in its title, the reality is that “Historical Criticism, Syro-Palestinian Archaeology, Assyriology, Egyptology, Second Temple Judaism, Socio-Literary Criticism, and Ugaritic Studies – A Guide for the Perplexed”, while being a more accurate description of what interests me, is somewhat of a mouthful and doesn’t readily fit on one line, not at least in a font size that doesn’t require a light microscope to read. In short, I aim to cover significantly more than Wellhausen, Gunkel, von Rad, and Noth.

Continue reading “Where to start? Recommended resources for the perplexed.”

Why I was perplexed about historical criticism

I grew up in a fundamentalist community believing not only that the Bible was inerrant in every scientific and historical detail, but that historical criticism was evil incarnate. Except that I didn’t know it as historical criticism but rather higher criticism.

Higher criticism. If you’ve emerged from a fundamentalist Christian background, then you’ll appreciate that the dreaded ‘higher critics’ were seen by devout fundamentalists as god-hating monsters out to destroy the Bible with their book-learning and scholarship and critical thinking. Continue reading “Why I was perplexed about historical criticism”