Hahn and Wiker, Politicizing the Bible
Hahn and Wiker, Politicizing the Bible

I’ve desired to read books on the subject of how confessional Christians can engage historical criticism of the Bible without resorting to a reactionary, apologetic posture. I found Evangelical Faith and the Challenge of Historical Criticism edited by Christopher M. Hays and Christopher B. Ansberry to be very refreshing, innovating, and encouraging. If you have not read my review yet you can do so here.

I don’t know if Scott Hahn’s and Benjamin Wiker’s Politicizing the Bible: The Roots of Historical Criticism and the Secularization of Scripture 1300-1700 will be the sort of book that I seek, but it does appear to have the potential. This is the blurb from Amazon.com:

Resisting the typical, dry methods of contemporary scholarship, this powerful examination revisits the biblical days of life-and-death conflict, struggles for power between popes and kings, and secret alliances of intellectuals united by a desire to pit worldly goals against the spiritual priorities of the church. This account looks beyond the pretense of neutrality and objectivity often found in secular study, and brings to light the appropriation of scripture by politically motivated interpreters. Questioning the techniques taken for granted at divinity schools worldwide, their origins are traced to the writings of Machiavelli and Marsilio of Padua, the political projects of Henry VIII, Thomas Hobbes, and John Locke, and the quest for an empire of science on the part of Descartes and Spinoza. Intellectual and inspiring, an argument is made for bringing Christianity back to biblical literacy.

While I advocate for evangelical engagement with historical criticism there is no denying that there is some mythology related to historical criticism, especially the idea that it is merely the advocacy of an objective reading of the Bible. Hahn is a Roman Catholic scholar, so part of the benefit of reading this book is that he may be able to see things from an angle different than that of my fellow evangelicals. In other words, he may not be defending the same things and fighting against the same thing as evangelicals, which could allow for a nuanced argument that I will find beneficial.

If anyone has read this book let me know your thoughts on it.