An exploration of the Hebrew Bible and its impact on current political debates.
Think of any issue at the heart of today's culture wars: e.g., evolution/intelligent design, gay/heterosexual marriage. While some may draw on the Bible for support and inspiration to make their argument, many are biblically illiterate and unable to address the counterarguments. To correct this imbalance, Berlinerblau (comparative literature & languages, Hofstra Univ.; Heresy in the University) explores the long-held, academically accepted Documentary Hypothesis about the formation of the first five books of the Old Testament, the theory that it is made up of texts derived from different sources. He reminds readers that numerous manipulations of oral and written documents across millennia have produced a Bible with various perspectives that do not speak with a common voice. Those who argue otherwise, he contends, read into Scripture their own preexisting positions. He further states that the works of religiously affiliated scholars represent a potential conflict of interest that prevents them from following through on the implications of their research. He issues a call for a new secular biblical scholarship, one with contributions from atheistic/areligious scholars. Not everyone will agree with Berlinerblau's argument, but his work represents a clear introduction to the problems of biblical interpretation. Recommended for undergraduate Bible studies collections.-Christopher Brennan, SUNY Coll. Lib., Brockport Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.