In this radical critique of his own academic specialty, biblical scholar Hector Avalos calls for an end to biblical studies. He outlines two main arguments for this surprising conclusion. First, academic biblical scholarship has clearly succeeded in showing that the ancient civilization that produced the Bible held beliefs about the origin, nature, and purpose of the world and humanity that are fundamentally opposed to the views of modern society. The Bible is thus largely irrelevant to the needs and concerns of contemporary human beings. Second, Avalos criticizes his colleagues for applying a variety of flawed and specious techniques aimed at maintaining the illusion that the Bible is still relevant in today’s world. In effect, he accuses his profession of being more concerned about its self-preservation than about giving an honest account of its own findings to the general public and faith communities.
In a controversial conclusion, Avalos argues that our world is best served by leaving the Bible as a relic of an ancient civilization instead of the “living” document most religionist scholars believe it should be. He urges his colleagues to concentrate on educating the broader society to recognize the irrelevance and even violent effects of the Bible in modern life.
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“A bracing call for Ingersoll-style biblical studies: a relentless demonstration of the alien and offensive character of a book that some would use as a weapon to control the rest of us.” ROBERT M. PRICE, PhD Professor of Theology and Scriptural Studies Johnnie Coleman Theological Seminary Editor of the Journal of Higher Criticism Author of The Reason-Driven Life and many other works
“… should be a required textbook in every academic class in biblical study …. I highly recommend this book to the general reader as a readable and reliable guide to understanding the important results of biblical research.”
GERALD A. LARUE Emeritus Professor of Biblical History and Archaeology University of Southern California First Chairman of the Committee for the Scientific Study of Religion Author of numerous books on biblical issues including Old Testament Life and Literature, Sex and the Bible, and Ancient Myth and Modern Life