Read Complete: On The Reliability of the Old Testament, by K.A. Kitchen

Kenneth Kitchen’s volume On The Reliability of the Old Testament is a book important enough to the evangelical community that I think a full review is warranted. That is currently in the works. In the meantime, I think it is sufficient to note that Kitchen is cited by many for two main reasons: (1) he defends the historical basis for the OT, and (2) he provides ample and quotable criticism of scholars like Finkelstein.

However, even granting that Kitchen’s narrow minority views are correct, readers ought to beware that he does not land us in the place many seem to think. What he concedes to folks like Finkelstein, Silberman, Dever, etc., proves far more notable than where he disagrees. The ‘reliability’ that he defends is by no means the traditional view of the texts in question. And as he does so, he demonstrates that the biblical texts are entirely non-unique among their antecedent and contemporary pagan cousins. Kitchen defends a different mountain than the one on which evangelicals have planted their flag. Tall Tale Tellers the biblical chroniclers remain.

His chapter on Genesis, dealing with both the creation and the flood, is a breathtaking expansion of discussions only covered briefly in other books on Christian origins. I believe that I could have saved myself a great deal of effort and a great many books, had I simply read Kitchen’s chapter first. It is more evident on Kitchen than ever that the Genesis accounts are as fabricated as their cousins, and as blind.

Long survey pending.

Comments

  1. Has the long review been completed? I am intrigued and would be interested in your review. Having abandoned the faith of my childhood and having embraced the idea that we are all names written in water; I continue to search for a third way.

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    • Sadly no. I got distracted. 🙂

      Or more precisely, my well meaning friends continued to pass me more books, which I dutifully read. Its in the back of my mind, but time has cooled my jets a bit. There’s so much good info out there, I’m not quite as revved about spending time critiquing what I think of as less-than-good info. I should probably still do it… book is sitting here all marked up!

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Michael Seidel, writer

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