Biblical Studies Book Reviews – RBL 14 Nov 2008 – The End of Biblical Studies?

The following new reviews have been added to the Review of Biblical Literature (RBL): (Click on the titles to go to the reviews)

Featuring: Hector Avalos, The End of Biblical Studies. Reviewed by Ulrich H. J. Körtner (Too bad for the general public – and me – it’s written in German, but I hear the review is great. It will give me good practice – a different day.)

RBL Book Description: In this radical critique of his own academic specialty, biblical scholar Hector Avalos calls for an end to biblical studies as we know them. He outlines two main arguments for this surprising conclusion. First, academic biblical scholarship has clearly succeeded in showing that the ancient civilization that produced the Bible held beliefs about the origin, nature, and purpose of the world and humanity that are fundamentally opposed to the views of modern society. The Bible is thus largely irrelevant to the needs and concerns of contemporary human beings. Second, Avalos criticizes his colleagues for applying a variety of flawed and specious techniques aimed at maintaining the illusion that the Bible is still relevant in today’s world. In effect, he accuses his profession of being more concerned about its self-preservation than about giving an honest account of its own findings to the general public and faith communities. . .



  1. Ward Blanton, Displacing Christian Origins: Philosophy, Secularity, and the New Testament. Reviewed by Clare K. Rothschild
  2. Marcus J. Borg and John Dominic Crossan. The Last Week: A Day-by-Day Account of Jesus’s Final Week in Jerusalem. Reviewed by Craig L. Blomberg
  3. Daniel A. Smith. The Post-Mortem Vindication of Jesus in the Sayings Gospel Q. Reviewed by William Arnal


  1. Katherine J. Dell. Opening the Old Testament.  Reviewed by Bill T. Arnold AND by George Heider
  2. Brad E. Kelle and Megan Bishop Moore. Israel’s Prophets and Israel’s Past: Essays on the Relationship of Prophetic Texts and Israelite History in Honor of John H. Hayes. Reviewed by Lena-Sofia Tiemeyer


  1. Jens Kreinath, Jan Snoek, and Michael Stausberg, eds. Theorizing Rituals: Issues, Topics, Approaches, Concepts, Annotated Bibliography. Reviewed by Brian B. Schmidt
  2. Fred Strickert. Rachel Weeping: Jews, Christians, and Muslims at the Fortress Tomb. Reviewed by Samuel Thomas
  3. Emily Teeter and Douglas J. Brewer. Egypt and the Egyptians. Reviewed by Roxana Flammini
  4. Ben Zion Wacholder. The New Damascus Document: The Midrash on the Eschatological Torah of the Dead Sea Scrolls: Reconstruction, Translation and Commentary. Reviewed by Gregory L. Doudna
  5. Jürgen Zangenberg, Harold W. Attridge, and Dale B. Martin, eds. Religion, Ethnicity and Identity in Ancient Galilee: A Region in Transition. Reviewed by Christoph Stenschke

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