Thursday, August 5, 2010

Biblical Criticism refuted

When I first considered traditional Judaism, one obstacle was Biblical Criticism. I investigated it then, in the 1960s, and found it unconvincing [largely due to the work of Cassutto]. In the last few years students have again put the question, especially in virtue of the writings of Richard Elliot Friedman. In response I posted a very short cursory set of notes on a few of Friedman's fantasies But now a friend alerted me to two books that have just appeared - both with the same title [!!] - Who Really Wrote the Bible? one by Eyal Rav-Noy and Gil Weinreich and one by Clayton Howard Ford.

Let me start by saying that each book contains a considerable number of errors. A number of their readings of verses can be disputed in neutral scholarly terms, and are in violation of the Jewish tradition. Some of the uses of chiasms in both, and sevens in the first book, could be challenged as subjective. But each book contains hundreds of critical points. Each book alone would be sufficient to destroy the credibility of Biblical Criticism for an honest thinker. The two together are simply devastating. [By the way, there is very little overlap between the books, remarkably.] Their common methodology is to use the tools of BC against itself, and to demonstrate the inconsistencies and unbelievably unreliable readings BC espouses. I heartily recommend both, even though Ford is a believing Christian. [That means if you do not read a book in which the author mentions Christianity positively, this book is not for you.]