In keeping with my past post to the Ehrman v. Craig debate, I offer another link. This one is to a Prof. Christine Haye’s (Yale) undergraduate lectures for her course Introduction to the Hebrew Bible. These really are an excellent, lucid presentation of the major issues facing contemporary readers of the HB (Hayes is a brilliant communicator). But more pertinent to my previous post, these are the kind of lectures undergraduates at most universities receive, and which the vast majority of Christians have yet to seriously face or engage. What’s more, unlike some lecturers, Hayes doesn’t antagonize or degrade her believing students; rather, she by and large just states what she thinks and why.
One additional note. I think like Ehrman’s presentations, Hayes’ offers a helpful entry point for considering possible directions forward. The fact is that for the most part there are 2 kinds of responses to these issues: total abandonment of the faith in light of the arguments, or total repudiation of the arguments in favor of a preconceived doctrine. In my opinion, for the same reason the first isn’t necessary and the second is irresponsible: the doctrine needs to be able to fit the data. Granted, we shouldn’t adopt everything in the academy whole hog, but there’s a lot we should. Moreover, the incarnational analogy is a helpful posture for approaching such issues, but it needs to be emphasized that the analogy doesn’t actually solve any problems. It tells us not to be surprised when we find challenges, but cannot actually tell us what to do once we find them. Ps. 18 describes Yahweh as a fire-breathing being being dwelling in a temple who opens the ceiling of earth to descend upon a cherub with arrows ablaze, and its not the only place in the HB–or in other ancient Near Eastern literature–where we meet such strange descriptions that don’t fit neatly into our creeds. We may be prepared to see this as God permitting the ancients to describe him in their own ancient ideas, but that kind of concession raises at least as many questions as answers, probably more. We have much more to do.
At any rate, enjoy!