With all the furore surrounding the Rollston controversy, and the legitimate questions raised about the relationship between historical criticism and evangelical faith, I thought I should tell you about a new collection of essays to be released in Spring 2013, edited by Christopher M. Hays and Christopher Ansberry. They have given it the title, Evangelical Faith and the Challenge of Historical Criticism. If you are interested in this question, I’ll make one brief, personal comment. I have read a few of these essays and think these (mostly early career) scholars have laid out the options to people who wish to identify as evangelicals but not as anti-intellectual ones, and I think the non-polemical tone of the work might well go some way to recruiting a few more ‘undecideds’ away from fundamentalism. In some ways, it’s better than Pete Enns’ and Kent Sparks’ recent works, since those were written by individuals working within the evangelical world at the time of writing. This collection is not only of a diverse group of young scholars, but of those working in other contexts.
I asked Chris for a synopsis, and he sent this:
The premise of the book is that evangelical Christianity has had a knee-jerk reaction against historical criticism, fearing that engagement with the methods and topics of criticism will lead down a slippery slope to heresy. Our book aims to gainsay that fear. We survey critical opinion on the most controversial issues (e.g. historical Jesus, Adam and the Fall, pseudepigraphy, unfulfilled prophecy, etc) and demonstrate that historical critical study need not lead to heterodoxy. Without denying that some critical views are incompatible with traditional Christian faith, we hope to show that there are avenues for critical engagement open to us. Moreover, we argue that those who are concerned with the authoritative witness of Scripture should be at the forefront of the critical debate, rather than ceding the field to those indifferent to the faith.