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Evangelical Faith and the Challenge of Historical Criticism
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Evangelical Faith and the Challenge of Historical Criticism

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SPCK 2013

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Many introductions to biblical studies describe critical approaches, but they do not discuss their theological implications. This timely resource discusses the relationship between historical criticism and Christian theology, encouraging evangelical engagement with historical-critical scholarship. Charting a middle course between wholesale rejection and unreflective embrace, the book introduces evangelicals to a way of understanding and using historical-critical scholarship that doesn’t compromise Christian orthodoxy. The book covers eight of the most hotly contested areas of debate in biblical studies, helping readers work out how to square historical criticism with their beliefs.

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Key Features

  • Discusses the theological implications of historical criticism for Christian orthodoxy
  • Demonstrates how evangelicals can gain from historical criticism without compromising their beliefs
  • Covers eight of the most poignant debates in historical-critical scholarship


  • “Towards a Faithful Criticism” by Christopher M. Hays
  • “Adam and the Fall” by Christopher M. Hays and Stephen Lane Herring
  • “The Exodus: Fact, Fiction or Both?” by Christopher B. Ansberry
  • “No Covenant before the Exile? The Deuteronomic Torah and Israel’s Covenant Theology” by Christopher B. Ansberry and Jerry Hwang
  • “Problems and Prophecy” by Amber Warhurst, Seth B. Tarrer and Christopher M. Hays
  • “Pseudepigraphy and the Canon” by Christopher B. Ansberry, Casey A. Stine, Edward W. Klink III, and David Lincicum
  • “The Historical Jesus” by Michael J. Daling and Christopher M. Hays
  • “The Paul of Acts and the Paul of the Epistles” by Aaron J. Kuecker and Kelly D. Liebengood
  • “Faithful Criticism and a Critical Faith” by Christopher B. Ansberry and Christopher M. Hays


  • Stephen Lane Herring, biblical Hebrew lector, Oxford Center for Hebrew and Jewish Studies
  • Jerry Hwang, lecturer, Singapore Bible College
  • Amber Warhurst, lecturer in biblical studies, King College, Bristol, Tennessee
  • Seth B. Tarrer, author, Reading with the Faithful
  • Casey A. Stine, college lecturer in Old Testament, Oriel College, Oxford
  • Edward W. Klink III, associate professor of New Testament, Talbot School of Theology
  • David Lincicum, university lecturer in New Testament, Oxford
  • Michael J. Daling, staff, Community Fellowship Church, West Chicago, Illinois
  • Aaron J. Kuecker, associate professor of theology, LeTourneau University
  • Kelly D. Liebengood, assistant professor of biblical studies, LeTourneau University

Praise for the Print Edition

This carefully argued book urges evangelical Christians to reexamine the potential of historical-critical biblical criticism. The book's essays make this case with unusually discriminating attention to biblical texts, critical treatments of these texts, theological implications of the treatments, and self-conscious historical awareness for both biblical eras and our own day. The authors seek not universal acceptance of what they propose so much as fresh evangelical engagement with questions involving the methods of biblical criticism—and therefore with Scripture itself. In this aim they succeed admirably.

Mark Noll, professor of history, University of Notre Dame

Hays and Ansberry provide evangelical students with something they rarely see: a discussion of the major critical issues in biblical studies combined with a respectful, discerning appreciation for the biblical text as scripture. Too often students must choose between academic rigor and personal belief. A well-written volume treating these issues is a rare gift to a new generation of students now looking at many of these issues for the very first time. The editors have chosen their topics well, and they have recruited a skilled team of writers to bring it to successful completion.

Gary M. Burge, professor of New Testament, Wheaton College

The contributors accept with grace and honesty the inescapable theological challenges to evangelicalism inherent in such engagement and exhibit the courage to give both faith and historical criticism the respect they deserve. This volume is a welcome addition to the growing number of evangelical voices calling for a reassessment of an evangelical doctrine of Scripture, not as an attack but for the end goal of supporting and enriching the evangelical movement.

Peter Enns, professor of Old Testament and biblical hermeneutics, Westminster Theological Seminary

Chris Hays and Chris Ansberry engage in the courageous task of showing how evangelical scholars can soberly address the hot-potato issues in biblical scholarship, even appropriate many critical insights, without selling out on what evangelicals traditionally believe. . . . This is the type of discussion on faith and criticism that evangelical scholarship has needed for years. Thankfully, an intellectually rigorous and theologically sensitive approach to these matters is finally upon us!

Michael Bird, lecturer in theology, Ridley Melbourne College of Mission and Ministry, Australia

A project like this is long overdue. Our students need to read essays and books that will not only orient them to the goals and methods of critical biblical scholarship but also provide them with a sieve with which to sift what they are reading. . . . The contributors handle controversial notions with integrity, seriousness, respect, and a commitment to fairness. They offer very needful guidance for young evangelical scholars encountering the world of critical scholarship for the first time. I commend the project and the contributors with enthusiasm.

Daniel I. Block, Gunther H. Knoedler Professor of Old Testament, Wheaton College

Product Details

  • Title: Evangelical Faith and the Challenge of Historical Criticism
  • Editors: Christopher M. Hays and Christopher B. Ansberry
  • Publisher: SPCK
  • Publication Date: 2013
  • Pages: 256

About the Editors

Christopher M. Hays earned his DPhil from Oxford and is a professor of New Testament at the Biblical Seminary of Colombia.

Christopher B. Ansberry earned his PHD from Wheaton College and is a lecturer in Old Testament at Oak Hill College in London.

Sample Pages from the Print Edition