Ron Hendel Defends Critical Biblical Scholarship
Ron Hendel, the Norma and Sam Dabby Professor of Hebrew Bible and Jewish Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, believes, on the other hand, that critical Biblical scholarship and the methodological doubt that accompanies it are valuable tools for understanding and appreciating the Biblical text. Unlike the certainty that accompanies Plantinga’s belief in the inerrancy of scripture, the questioning of authority and tradition that comprises methodological doubt can ultimately lead to greater clarity and more solid faith, Hendel says. “Only a position that survives the scrutiny of methodological doubt can be regarded as reliable, and even then it is subject to future testing.”
Ron Hendel adds that the belief in the inerrancy of scripture is a fairly recent development of contemporary evangelical theology. Even in the 16th century John Calvin noted “erroneous views ‘of the humble and unlearned’” in certain Biblical passages, as did Martin Luther and other Reformers. For them the divine inspiration of scripture did not equate to an inerrancy of scripture.
Read more from Ron Hendel’s Biblical Views column as he explains the value of methodological doubt in relation to Biblical studies in “Critical Biblical Scholarship—What’s the Use?” in the July/August 2012 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review.
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