I may not disagree with selections 7 through 3, but I take umbrage with selection number 2. To Jim, the second wonder of the modern world is a school of biblical studies. Here is his selection:
2- The Copenhagen / Sheffield ‘School’ of Biblical Studies. Finally, the door is unlocked to a proper understanding of the biblical text.I do not want to be offensive here (nothing personal), but I strongly disagree with Jim on this point. What the Copenhagen / Sheffield ‘School’ of Biblical Studies has done is not to open the door “to a proper understanding of the biblical text” but rather develop an exegetical method that has transformed the Old Testament stories into a set of “foundation myths” that were created in order to justify the existence of post-exilic Judaism.
In my view, the Copenhagen / Sheffield ‘School’ of Biblical Studies is a post-modern form of second century Marcionism. To the Marcionites, the Old Testament was a scandal because they believed the God of the Old Testament was a cruel God. Since for them the God of the Old Testament was not good, then the Old Testament had to be set aside.
The Copenhagen / Sheffield ‘School’ of Biblical Studies emphasizes that the Jews who came from exile in Babylon created the myths of the patriarchs, the Exodus, and the conquest in order to justify their occupation of the land. Since these foundation myths were created by the oppressors to justify their cause, then these myths (the stories of the Old Testament) must be set aside as non-historical because they were used by the returnees to oppress the remainees, the poor people who were living in the land at the time the returnees came back from exile.
The same approach is being used today to deny Israel the right to live in the land. According to modern Marcionites, a group of Zionists returned to Palestine and dispossessed the people who already lived there. People who deny Israel’s right to the land claim that these same Zionists used archaeology to prove that their ancestors lived in the land for more than three thousand years. Today’s Marcionites claim that since there were no patriarchs, no Exodus, no conquest, and no tenth century, modern Israel’s claim to the land is not valid because the Israel that was delivered from the house of oppression never existed since that ideal Israel was based on a fictitious history created by a group of people who occupied the land after they came from their exile in Babylon.
If people all over the world had to vote for the Copenhagen / Sheffield ‘School’ of Biblical Studies as one of the Real Seven Wonders of the Modern World, the Copenhagen / Sheffield ‘School’ of Biblical Studies would receive only one vote, and it would not be mine.
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary
Tags: Israel, Jews, Judaism, Marcion, Marcionites