Rick Brannan created a meme that asks people to list “The Five Biblical Studies Books I’m Stupider for Having Read.”
The meme has the following rules:
1. These are Biblical Studies books. Note that anything written by Tim LaHaye is not a Biblical Studies book.
2. Feel free to list multiple books by the same author, but you need to have at least three authors out of the five books.
3. You’re free to include books that were so stupid you couldn’t finish them.
4. Explain, in as few or as many words as you can muster, why the book in question was so mind-numbingly stupid.
Rick tagged Jim West and Jim West tagged me.
Before I list my five books, let me say a few words about them. First, no book makes me stupider for having read them. I always learn something from the books I read, even when I learn not to make the same mistakes the authors made.
Second, what is a bad book for some is a good book for others. For instance, Jim West listed Kenneth Kitchen, On the Historical Reliability of the Old Testament and called it “dung.” I actually liked the book and thought it was very informative.
On the other hand, I am certain that Jim West would say that Mario Liverani’s book, Israel's History and the History of Israel was a great book while I would say that the book was a work of fantasy. Although I completely disagreed with Liverani on almost every statement he made, I learned much from reading the book (read my review of the book here and here).
What I am trying to say is: that one or more of the books I have selected here may be somebody’s favorite book, even though I say that these five books are sub-par when it comes to solid biblical scholarship.
So, with these caveats, here is my selection, with no order of preference:
1. David T. Adamo, Africa and the Africans in the Old Testament. In addition to the many typos, misspelled words, and other infelicities of the language, this book teaches that all major cultures of the Ancient Near East were established by Africans.
2. Severino Croatto: Exodus: A Hermeneutics of Freedom. This book seeks to read the biblical message of the Exodus from a Liberation Theology perspective and from the oppressive situation in Latin-America. From this perspective, the Latin-American liberation struggle becomes a cause in search of a theology.
3. Bob Ekblad, Reading the Bible with the Damned. Another book that seeks to apply Liberation Theology to Mexican immigrants who are in the United States illegally. Any book that calls Jesus “The Good Coyote” deserves to be on this list. Read my review of the book here.
4. Jorge Pixley, Jeremiah. Here is another book that applies Liberation Theology to the book of Jeremiah. Pixley tries to make the book of Jeremiah relevant to contemporary situations by identifying the Babylonian empire with the United States because of its exploitation of the poor.
5. Gleason L. Archer, A Survey of Old Testament Introduction. Archer’s book has been the favorite Old Testament introduction of conservative Christianity for more than a generation. It has been translated into many languages. My contention with Archer’s book is that in trying to defend an ultra-conservative view of the Old Testament, at times he fails to present a fair argument in his defense of the traditional views. See an example here.
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary