Here now is my second post on that intriguing little article by Louis Markos in the journal First Things, which he entitled “Errant Ehrman.” If you’ll recall from my last post, Markos starts the article by indicating that he felt “great pity” for me because I was the wrong kind of fundamentalist back when I was a conservative Christian. My problem, he indicates, is that I applied modern standards to decide whether the Bible was inerrant. Here are his words:
He [Ehrman] was taught, rightly, that there are no contradictions in the Bible, but he was trained, quite falsely, to interpret the non-contradictory nature of the Bible in modern, scientific, post-Enlightenment terms. That is to say, he was encouraged to test the truth of the Bible against a verification system that has only existed for some 250 years…..
And so, as I pointed out last time, the right kind of true believer is obviously one who does not “test the truth of the Bible” by modern standards using modern criteria, but only by pre-modern, pre-Enlightenment ones. I suppose I could live with this criticism if I had even the most remote sense that Markos really means it. But I simply don’t think he does. And not only for the reasons I pointed out before.
Here’s another one. The prompt for this discussion of my pitiable state is a book by Craig Blomberg that Markos is reviewing for the journal (why he put my name in the title rather than the name of the author of the book is somewhat beyond me). In this review he points out that, unlike me in my fundamentalist days, Blomberg has the right understanding of the Bible as having no contradictions or mistakes of any kind. This is what Markos says:
Blomberg offers as his definition of inerrancy one penned by Paul Feinberg: “Inerrancy means that when all facts are known, the Scriptures in their original autographs and properly interpreted will be shown to be wholly true in everything that they affirm, whether that has to do with doctrine or morality or with the social, physical, or life sciences.”
I have to say that I wonder if Markos really intends us to take him seriously. On the one hand he wants to argue that we are not to evaluate the Bible on post-Enlightenment terms, and yet he also wants to argue that
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