Relevance for Today in Yesterday’s Bible Scholarship
Bible scholar Richard Elliott Friedman believes that the tools and methods developed in good Bible scholarship should now be applied in new ways to the Bible: relevance for understanding and discussing the hot topics of modern times, for example.
Archaeology, linguistics and textual criticism—all of which are essential parts of thorough Bible scholarship—can shed important light on today’s controversial topics, such as capital punishment, abortion, homosexuality, women’s status and the environment. Everyone from pastors to politicians is talking about these hot-button issues, calling on the authority of the Bible, relevance (if any) of the Bible in today’s society, and what the Bible has to say about them. As Richard Elliott Friedman stresses, good Bible scholarship has an essential role in these discussions.
Without taking sides on most of the issues, Friedman discusses how a careful study of the Bible can contribute to a better understanding of what the text really says—and doesn’t say. On the environment, however, he says that the message in the Bible is clear: As humans we are the stewards of this planet, and we should not abuse our power over it.
Read more about this important new approach toward Bible scholarship in Richard Elliot Friedman’s “The Bible Then—The Bible Now,” Biblical Archaeology Review, September/October 2011.
Sign up to receive our email newsletter and never miss an update.
Dig into the illuminating world of the Bible with a BAS All-Access membership. Combine a one-year tablet and print subscription to BAR with membership in the BAS Library to start your journey into the ancient past today!Subscribe Today
I wonder if any of you would believe in the bible, if you found out the devil wrote it
From Richard Elliott Friedman: I’m afraid that there has been a misunderstanding here. I never wrote the words attributed to me here (“It doesn’t matter who wrote the Bible; it matters who reads it”). At the end of WWTB the last sentence was “The question, after all, is not ONLY who wrote the Bible, but who reads it.” I hope this helps. With good wishes to all, REF
It matters A LOT who wrote it. The gospels are a coverup of the Mastership of a successor to ‘Jesus’, that’s the result of not knowing. James the Just is the successor, in multiple sources, including brand new ones, the Dead Sea Scrolls Pesherim (Eisenman’s analysis) and the Nag Hammadi texts like the Apocalypses of James.
Sigh, you’re not quite understanding. You’re obviously choosing between different human authors. If you’re choosing between a human author and God, then would you *still* say it doesn’t matter who is giving directions for your life?
When I read Friedman’s words, “It doesn’t matter who wrote the Bible; it matters who reads it”, I just had to snort. I mean, if it was a Sabbath, and I was standing next to my non-Jewish girlfriend about to grill my bacon cheeseburger, and I suddenly wondered who wrote the Bible, it bloody well WOULD matter who wrote the Bible.
I read his book on Bible Authorship; it was excellent, and worth every penny.