A Proper Biography of the Holy Writ
Thanks to ORIGENalO for his very thoughtful review. I do answer two of the criticisms in ALL CAPS. If you have any question about whether you should bother reading A BIOGRAPHY OF THE CHRISTIAN BIBLE, this should answer your inquiry.
5.0 out of 5 stars
October 1, 2019
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This review is long overdue, as I had already read the book about a month earlier now. This book can be perceived as a solid (albeit respectable) hit piece against the (dare I say) cultish-esque KJV-only camp. The irony of such a target audience is that the majority of its members are likely too intellectually dishonest to ever even want to pick up a book so chock-full of rebuttals to their cherished beliefs, let alone even read a short article against it.
Assuming that the intended audience is actually the general apologetically inclined believer though, it helps to better validate its purpose of the composition.
Having said that, I nonetheless want to commend the thorough dissecting of the foundations of KJ dogmas, along with an included emphasis on how such hazardous beliefs actually provide easy targets to outsiders of the faith. It was great how the primary arguments used by this camp against other textual traditions were acknowledged and refuted. Even though the misplaced allegiance to the “Authorized Version” was put to such shame, the author still decided to point out that there actually is a Scrivener Bible from 1873 that actually fixed the many issues that its KJV predecessors had. This was a good-spirited acknowledging gesture, done for fairness’ sake on behalf of the classical translation and its adherents
Regarding the overall better-attested accuracy of the LXX that the author holds in both this book and Rebooting the Bible (RBT), there are a couple of historical omissions that I wish were addressed in this book.
What I do not appreciate is what I perceived to be the author’s personally vested interest in the preservation of the “sanctity” of the Westminster Confession of Faith, it is spoken of in a positive light in passing. This is made evident by his omission of the historically significant contribution to their dismissal of the inspiration and validity of the so-called “Apocrypha.” Tangentially related is the omission of the canon tacking-on of the Council of Laodicea manuscripts, pushed as truth by Wescott & Hort, this originating and perpetuating the myth that there was a 66-book canon established way back in 364 CE. Such invalid official dismissal (WCF) and forgery (CoL–whomever it was in fact done by) are crucial to address if the redacted canon stronghold of the Protestant/Anglican world is to be torn down. I really do hope that RBT part 2 will visit these allegations and chime in with some well thought out responses. [SDW–I AM NOT VESTED IN THE ACCURACY OF THE WESTMINSTER CONFESSION. I DO NOT NECESSARILY AGREE WITH THE POSITIONING OF THE APOCRYPHA. THESE CONFESSIONS WERE MOSTLY GREAT STATEMENTS OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH AND HELPED NUDGE THE REFORMATION ALONG THE RIGHT LINES WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE LXX].
I finish this review off by list several other things I appreciated about this book:
- Just like with RBT, the Table of Contents provides a detailed listing of both the chapter and topic headings, giving the curious a roadmap with useful landmarks to look forward to.
- The promoting of the premise that textual criticism (not higher) is the best approach to understanding the original autographs of the inspired texts, is what I am totally on board about, with the needed additional encouragement for this found in the book for me. Even though the LXX is generally more reliable, the MT should still be used alongside it. There are, after all, a number of readings that are more accurate in the latter, in my estimation. Scriptural fidelity and preservation are made possible with the ongoing efforts of scholars that we all hope have good intentions in their endeavors. The Holy Spirit partnered with humans in the transmission of the writings, so it shouldn’t bother us to also consider the ongoing work of the Author with us when it comes to guidance toward genuineness.
- More so with RBT part 1 though, it was nice getting several more teases about what RBT part 2 will cover. I’m particularly curious to see if mere surface-level arguments will be used to try discrediting the Book of Jasher. It’s so unfortunate that so many people like to merely go off scholarly “consensus” views by merely parroting their talking points when it comes to controversial texts. I hope Woodward would actually take the time to read through its entirety without confirmation bias before undermining it. The only big issue it has is it is based on the corrupted Masoretic timeline, allowing the connecting of Melchizedek to Noah’s son Shem. The Vorlage for the proto-MT is known to already have had corruptions though (from BCE?). [SDW–WHEN THE PROPER TIMELINE IS IDENTIFIED, MANY OF THE STORIES OF THE BOOK OF JASHER FALL APART. I SPEND CONSIDERABLE TIME ON THIS MATTER RE: NIMROD AND HIS ROLE IN THE EVENTS RE: BABEL, HIS DEATH, AND HIS FALSE CONTEMPORANITY WITH ABRAHAM.]
As silly as it sounds, there actually are people who are convinced that the OG LXX was only produced after Christ. It was interesting to learn how they argue such a point, and fun to see Woodward tear those assertions apart.
What was also nice was the author bringing back home the functionality of the information found for one’s faith. This is namely the importance for believers to actually be familiar with the logistics of what we hold to be the Sacred Scriptures overseen by the sovereignty of the blessed Holy Spirit.
There is so much to say, but I’ll just leave it at this.