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.

Quote: Kitchen on Jericho

There has always been too much imagination about Jericho by moderns (never mind previous generations), and the basic factors have ironically been largely neglected. The town was always small, an appendage to its spring and oasis…

~ K. A. Kitchen, On the Reliability of the Old Testament

Quote: Kitchen Summarizing The Exodus

Cover of "On the Reliability of the Old T...

Cover of On the Reliability of the Old Testament

The Exodus and Sinai events are not hereby proven to have happened, or the tabernacle and covenant, etc., to have been made then. But their correspondence not just with attested realities but with known usage of the late second millennium B.C. and earlier does favor acceptance of their having had a definite historical basis.

~ K. A. Kitchen, On the Reliability of the Old Testament

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