Tuesday, September 11, 2018

The ANE Today reviews the MOTB

THE ANCIENT NEAR EAST TODAY: About That Museum in Washington (Alex Joffe). Dr. Joffe is the editor of The Ancient Near East Today. This is a longish review of the Museum of the Bible. Two excerpts:
Some readers are doubtless ready to stop right here. That would be a mistake, not only because they’d miss some witty insights, but because the museum itself is a serious place that deserves consideration and respect, if only because of the questions it poses for us about the Bible. Who has the right to interpret the Bible? The museum makes it clear that, following the Protestant tradition, all people do. But using what tools? That’s where things get complicated.
Academics have hardly been faithful stewards of the Bible any more than other forms canonical knowledge; efforts to reclaim the Bible on the part of faith were also inevitable. If these also lead to more earnest engagement with the Bible as literature, tradition and morality on the part of academics and intellectuals, all the better. Unfortunately, I see the opposite occurring; Biblical reclamation will be met with further academic approbation, which will only increase the distance between academia and society, heightening mutual suspicion and alienation, and setting up at least one side for a nasty surprise. As Lincoln said, “Certainly there is no contending against the Will of God; but still there is some difficulty in ascertaining, and applying it, to particular cases.”
For many past PaleoJudaica posts on the MOTB, start here and follow the links.

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