“Protective Strategies and the Prestige of the ‘Academic’: A Religious Studies and Practice Theory Redescription of Evangelical Inerrantist Scholarship

Peter Enns just blogged about this article authored by Stephen L. Young (ABD doctoral student, Brown University, Religions in the Ancient Mediterranean. I have read portions and mean to go back and engage it more carefully.

Essentially the argument is that when it comes to conservative Evangelical scholarship they (we) want to have our cake and eat it, too. In responding to historical criticism inerrantists have a significant task – to prove that all historical assertions and meanings are true and using the discipline of historical criticism to do so. But Yong’s assertion is that the game is rigged in their favor. Here is a portion of Young’s Abstract of his article.

This article examines how Evangelical Christian inerrantist scholars theorize their biblical scholarship and its relation to the broader academy, highlighting (1) their self-representation as true academics, and (2) the ways they modulate historical methods to prefer interpretive options that keep the Bible inerrant. Using these characteristics of inerrantist theorizing, the article redescribes their scholarship in terms of the religious studies rubrics of “protective strategies” and “privileging” insider claims.

Enns thinks “the scholarly world may be beginning to look more carefully at inerrantist biblical scholarship.”

I have never fixated on inerrancy though I have a high confidence in the inspiration and infallibility of the Bible. For me it has always been an invitation to bogus scholarship to make a name for itself even while saner and more intelligent Evangelical minds get left in the dust. Intellectually I am of the inerrantist mindset but emotionally I withdraw from a large part of the inerrantist crowd who whip up crowds into a frenzy at conferences and in books.

In the midst of it all the Bible lives because its Jesus lives. The Book cannot be buried.

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