Challenge to Anti-Intellectual Christians

Challenge to Anti-Intellectual Christians December 21, 2010

This is a repost of something I wrote a couple of years agoIt’s a challenge to those Christians who denigrate scholarship as causing confusion and inappropriately asking questions and raising issues. Just read the Bible for yourself, without the aid of scholarship.

Sounds simple, right? Sounds like just what you wanted to do? Not so fast…

  • If you are going to do what I’ve challenged you to, then you cannot read an English translation of the Bible. Translations rely on all sorts of scholars and experts in both the original languages, the Biblical literature, and the theory of translation.
  • You cannot simply read a critical edition of the Greek or Hebrew text. Those critical editions are also produced by scholars, who painstakingly compile the readings in manuscripts so as to give translators and other scholars convenient access to the text.
  • You cannot use an original Greek or Hebrew manuscript that is held in a library or museum. Libraries and museums are likewise places of academic research and scholarship.

When you’ve done that, do get back to me. Or, alternatively, just acknowledge that you are entirely dependent on scholars for your access to the Bible throughout the process: study of original manuscripts, collation of readings in critical editions, translations into your native language, and the commentaries and other such helps that hopefully your pastor uses even if you do not.

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  • Can I use manuscripts at a monastery? I mean if monks are scholars, so is everybody who can read and right (as it once was)My plan is to use bi-lingual cabbies from Athens and Tel-Aviv to translate the books and label that "The Authorized Non-Scholars Edition: No egg-head was allowed by pain of death to put in their cheap two cents in translating of this Holy Bible" to make it extra accessible to the common man, I'll burn the originals and declare their memory of what they translated the authoritative edition.

  • Sure! When you're done, let me know where I can buy a copy! 🙂

  • jj

    O.K., I admit it, I'm entirely dependent on scholars to access the Bible…but only the inspired and inerrant ones.

  • Anonymous

    I am not sure i follow you completely. Are you saying that unless i have a masters, or higher, from an accredited school of theology, that i cannot understand the Bible as we have it today?And those who do not have one should not be teaching?

  • No, I am saying that we are all dependent on those with relevant expertise. Even New Testament scholars depend on other scholars with different specialization.I'm also saying that if you read a translation of the Bible, you are already depending on scholars. Not everyone gets a degree in Biblical studies, but all those who read the Bible in their own language and want to understand it are dependent in a variety of ways on those who do.