On his blog, biblical scholar Peter Enns
is hosting a series of guest posts by other scholars about their "Aha!" moments
--the "moments that convinced them they needed to find different ways of handling the Bible than how they had been taught." He has ten posts in the series so far, with more on the way.
1) Peter Enns
himself. "Let me put a finer point on that: no rock moved in the Old Testament, but Paul said one did [I Corinthians 10:4
]. Paul says something about the Old Testament that Old Testament doesn’t say."
2) John Byron
. "The instructor was discussing Mark 2:23-27
, which narrates the challenge of the Pharisees to Jesus over his disciples picking grain on the Sabbath. Jesus responds to their question by referring to the story in 1 Samuel 21:1-9
of David and his men eating the consecrated bread from the tabernacle. The problem, however, as I pointed out to my teacher, is that Jesus got it wrong. The story in 1 Samuel 21 relates how David fled from Saul alone."
3) Daniel Kirk
. "So one day I decided that the logical way to spend my time would be to create a chart of what each Gospel says about the last week of Jesus’ life."
4) Michal Pahl
. "For the first time I also read the pieces of the Bible alongside each other: two creation stories in Genesis, two renditions of the Ten Commandments, two accounts of Israel’s kingdoms, four Gospel stories of Jesus. This raised all sorts of questions for me that I wasn’t yet prepared to answer, but there was no doubt in my mind that these parallel pieces were different from each other."
5) Charles Halton
. "What I found out, when I paid attention to the details, is that there is no one, singular teaching on creation in Scripture. There are several creation narratives and they conflict with one another. And they conflict on the most superficial level—the order of creation."
6) Christopher W. Skinner
. "Since I had always been taught about the Bible’s coherence and internal consistency, I thought, “Surely the New Testament gives us reliable information about Jesus’ origins?” This meant that despite my misgivings, there had to be a way to reconcile the conflicting genealogies in Matthew 1
and Luke 3
7) Christopher M. Hayes
. "Some manuscripts of 2 Peter 2:15
called him “Balaam son of Beor” (which is what Numbers 22:5
calls him); other manuscripts of 2 Peter 2:15 call him “Balaam of Bosor,” which, as we’ll see in a moment, makes no sense at all. “Beor” is a person’s name; it was the name of Balaam’s dad (his patronymic). Bosor is the name of a city (a.k.a. Bosorra). The problem is: the older, better manuscripts called him “Balaam of Bosor,” but Balaam wasn’t from anywhere near Bosor, which is in the land of Gilead."
8) Michael Ruffin
The conversation went like this:
Me: “Do you know what Dr. Giddens and my textbook say about the Pentateuch?”
Dad: “About the what?”
Me: “The Pentateuch. The Torah. The first five books of the Old Testament.”
Dad: “Oh. No, what do they say?”
Me: “That Moses didn’t write everything in those books.”
Me: “Yes, really.”
Dad: “Huh. Well, I always wondered how Moses managed to write about his own death.”
9) Anthony Le Donne
. I turned to the Bible often with fear and trembling. Jesus told me that if I looked upon Daisy Duke with lust in my heart, I was guilty of adultery. I kept reading. Jesus told me that if my right eye continued to sin, I should pluck it out
. And here I was looking upon Linda Carter with both eyes!
10) Chris Tilling
. "I read John Goldingay’s excellent book, Models for Scripture
, in which he argued that the circular logic noted above is simply not biblical! The Bible itself undermines it because God seemed happy to allow discrepancies to remain in the Bible (all of which were easy to look up and read without the need to accept the claims of “liberal biblical scholarship”)."
The entire series was prompted, in part, by a much discussed HuffPo post by Greg Carey entitled, "Where do 'Liberal' Bible Scholars Come From?
," particularly his line "The best way for conservative churches to produce "liberal" biblical scholars is to keep encouraging young people to read the Bible."
More posts from other scholars and pastors are on the way.