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Biblical Scholarship

When theists talk about Biblical scholarship, I can’t help but laugh. I can study the books of the Harry Potter series for years and years, but that doesn’t make the belief that Hogwarts is a real place filled with magic any less fictional.

It seems to me that the entire basis for the field (if you can call it that) of Biblical scholarship is to make the insane ideas of a series of bronze-aged mythology more compatible with itself as well as with 21st century understanding.

Many Americans were appalled last week when Religious Right website conservapedia.com wanted to edit out liberal ideas and words from the Bible. But the fact of the matter is that Biblical scholars edit out many of the really horrible ideas in the Bible all the time just by making new translations, re-defining words, claiming passages are metaphorical, and just reshaping the ideas presented.

Now I don’t want to dogmatically claim that all Biblical scholarship is this way, but I am certainly left with that impression about Biblical scholarship in general. There was a time when only the elite were allowed to read and interpret the Bible. It wasn’t that those people had some secret knowledge, but rather because they knew that people would be appalled at what the Bible actually said. Now everyone can read the Bible for themselves, so what is the point of Biblical scholarship? I think the answer is to make the Bible less appalling to the average reader.

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