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The Corruption of Biblical Studies

Academic scrutiny of scripture, a discipline prey to intellectual fashion since its inception, is today pursued by many in the service of secular liberal positions.

Pages from a 10th-century Hebrew Bible. Benedek/istockphoto.

Pages from a 10th-century Hebrew Bible. Benedek/istockphoto.

Essay
July 10 2017
About the author

Joshua Berman is professor of Bible at Bar-Ilan University and a research fellow at the Herzl Institute. His new book, Inconsistency in the Torah: Ancient Literary Convention and the Limits of Source Criticism, is just out from Oxford University Press.


In the 2017 edition of The State of the Bible, its annual survey, the American Bible Society reports that more than half of all Americans who regularly read the Bible now search for related material on the Internet. This shift in how the faithful learn about scripture has resulted in unprecedented public exposure to one particular kind of Bible study—namely, the academic kind. Major websites now offer the latest that scholars have to say about the Bible—its authorship, its historical accuracy, its proper interpretation—and those websites attract hundreds of thousands of unique visitors each month. In an age when interest in the humanities is generally waning, the department of biblical studies is providing enrichment to what has become the most popular online branch of the liberal arts.

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