Monday, April 8, 2013

Section 6: Modern Biblical Scholarship and Epicureanism

The Self-Donation of God, pg. 6:

"Not interpreting Scripture in light of Christ ultimately leads to the application of an alien framework and context. It represents merely the imposition of a different framework on Scripture, and not a neutral and scientific interpretation of Scripture.
In point of fact, this is precisely what we are proposing that modern biblical scholars have done and continue to do. They impose an alien framework on Scripture and thereby distort individual texts by interpreting them within that framework. One steeped in the history of modern biblical scholarship is bound to find this unsurprising in light of the fact that this tradition of interpretation begins with Baruch Spinoza and the revival of Epicurean thought in the early modern period. Part of Epicureanism was the denial of divine design within the world (Epicurus followed the atomism of Democritus) and the rejection of supernatural revelation (the gods, claimed Epicurus do not interact with the world). 
For this reason, Scripture is seen as the patchwork of the different writings of those involved in "priestcraft" (later Rationalists frequently called it) cut and pasted together and edited by one great imposter as the final redactor. Since different writing styles can obvious be used by the same author and because none of the intermediate or ur-documents that supposedly made up whole biblical books have ever been found, the supposition of modern liberal biblical scholars that the Bible was produced in this way is almost entirely based on discerning the power-play present in the rhetorical violence of the various invented authors of the theoretical documents (Q, JEDP, etc.). By reading the Bible this way, liberal critics of the Bible seek to free themselves from the heteronomous claims of these ancient authors and assert their autonomy against the text. This kind of freedom is of course (as we shall see later) is not real freedom. It is a defensive action of a creature bent by sin. Such phony autonomy seeks a defense against the accusation of the law present in the supposedly heteronomous claims of the text. The only freedom that can be real freedom is in Christ. By accepting that the Bible is truthful and centers on Christ, believers gain the true freedom that modern liberal biblical scholar seeks through the destruction of biblical authority. 
Epicureanism also automatically rules out the supernatural. This again is merely an a prior hermeneutical decision, and not something necessitated by the material itself. Rather than offer any hard evidence that the Hebrew prophets did not predict Jesus, they merely interpret the Scriptures within a framework that does not view reality as centering on the Christological. Indeed, not only is predictive prophecy ruled out of court, but there can be no divinely designed melody of salvation history. Any subtle connection between one event in Scripture and another must be manufactured afterwards out of thin air. Any fulfillment of predictive prophecy must have been redacted after the event to fit the prophecy. In reading modern biblical scholarship what one is amazed by time and again is how commentators get away with so much conjecture without offering a slightest bit of evidence. They also frequently present weak evidence or dismiss evidence devastating to their position. Since their audience has been acculturated into the Epicurean assumptions about divine agency, they can simply build conjecture on conjecture. Those who challenge such practices (within and outside the academic world) are dismissed as "Fundamentalists" who worship a "Paper Pope." All this suggests that many exegetes are engaged in a covert theological agenda and not in neutral historical investigation as they attempt claim. As was suggested at the beginning of this section, the theology they propose is one that needs Scripture to be errant in order to bolster their religion of allegory (so that they might maintain their precious bourgeois autonomy against the peril of divine providence and miracle) and moralizing (so that in their autonomy they might continue their project of self-justification)."

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