It is fascinating to me that many biblical scholars today deride their discipline’s captivity to modernity and modernity’s methods while they at the same time continue to accept conclusions about the biblical text that are clearly tied to a modernistic approach. I’ve recently read articles and monographs by TIS proponents, biblical scholars approaching their topic from a “postmodern” perspective, and evangelicals that argue we should move beyond a modernistic model of biblical scholarship. This in and of itself is a welcome proposal, given modernity’s quest for objectivity, focus on the particulars at the expense of the whole, and dependence upon a whole host of philosophical underpinnings which clash with a Christian worldview. But this proposal is almost always accompanied by a concession to modernistic biblical scholarship’s conclusions about the text, whether it be date or authorship or transmission or redaction.
How does this make any sense? With our left hand we ask the guild to stop capitulating to modernity’s methods, and even sometimes, among the most careful of thinkers, to stop building on its philosophical foundations, while with our right we hold tightly to what we have received from it. Why do we not say instead, “Modernity’s philosophical foundations are suspect, and therefore so are its methods. We ought therefore to reconsider all of its conclusions, and especially those that arise from the so-called historical critical method and its tools.”