The Library Basement
Reading under ground

Against biblical illiteracy

I encountered an article by Hector Avalos entitle "In Praise of Biblical Illiteracy." I don't agree with the article, and I find its arguments to be problematic. Of particular concern is this portion, dealing with the effect scholars have on the scriptures:

Furthermore, this effort to promote biblical literacy depends on the illusion that there is such a thing as “THE Bible.” Just consider the fact that the text of our New Testament is a hypothetical reconstruction that is identical to no single manuscript extant in the first few centuries of Christianity. Our canon could have been made of many combinations and include books we don’t consider part of “biblical studies.” Therefore, “the Bible” is partly the construction of scholars (ancient or modern), and today the power to define the Bible still resides mostly with ecclesiastical authorities, as well as with academic biblical scholars. So, even if believers hold “the Bible” to be relevant, it is because clerics and scholars have not divulged how much of it is constructed by scholars.

Besides being a misrepresentation of textual criticism and canonical studies, I really don't see the connection. People think the Bible is relevant because scholars have not divulged how much is constructed by scholars? Am I missing something? Have canonical studies and textual criticism somehow made the Bible more relevant to modern readers? How could that be? I just don't see the causality.

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Category: Christianity

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