Though the Bible’s authorship was once largely uncontested, today it is the subject of raging debate. The stakes are high: billions of people follow religions hinging on the Bible’s divine origin. Many educators therefore gloss over or ignore this theological minefield, reasoning that it is an unnecessary challenge to their students’ faith. But this leaves the curious students, either on the internet or in their future college classrooms, without guidance for navigating these choppy waters. By engaging with these questions with honesty and faith, we can grow from the encounter.
1. Engaging with Biblical Criticism: Why should an Orthodox Jew learn about something that might challenge their faith?
2. Biblical Criticism and Faith: What can and should a religious Jew believe regarding Biblical Criticism?
3. Education and Biblical Criticism: How should we talk or teach about Biblical criticism in our schools?
Of all the books I’ve read on Biblical criticism, I think I found this the most satisfying. Bazak really covers all of the main issues that arise from a critical reading of the Bible. The structure is very clear and he deals with all the issues in a thoughtful and substantive way. Some may want a book that contends more with contemporary scholarship and secondary literature, but I found the grounding and orientation of the book quite satisfying. There are some thinkers and approaches I would have liked to see represented more, like Tamar Ross and Rav Shagar who wed postmodernist thought with traditional Jewish thought. Still, if one were looking for an introduction that lays out all of the key issues with traditional framing—start here.