Book Review: “(Mis)Interpreting Genesis” by Ben Stanhope

A FB friend just posted his favorable review of this book.

Conclusion: Stanhope’s is a must-read for anyone who wants to learn about the fascinating historical, literary, and cultural contexts of all those biblical passages that get brought up so much in most creation/evolution debates. If you want to know what those passages are actually saying, Stanhope’s book is a vital resource. Very readable, quite funny in parts, and immensely satisfying. If you want to properly interpret these biblical texts, you need to read (Mis)Interpreting Genesis .

More at the link.

Book Review: “(Mis)Interpreting Genesis” by Ben Stanhope…yes, it is REALLY GOOD – Resurrecting Orthodoxy


I met Ben when he was an undergrad. Glad to see his youthful mischievousness materializing into substantive work :slight_smile:


The existence of this sort of scholarship does not altogether surprise me.

It does however raise the question of how YECs defend their position from it.

Do they have go-to scholarly exegesis of their own to point to? Or do they just ignore this area of scholarship?

Also, to what extent has scholarship of this type gained acceptance and/or penetration in seminaries?

As far as I can tell, they reject this scholarship and invent their own.

That I don’t know, but my FB friend lost a teaching job over it (and wrote a book about it). I’ll see if I can persuade him to join in here.

We say you don’t need a scholar to explain ANE context to understand the basics of the Bible. Frankly I find the idea to be incredibly frustrating. Do we ever see the writers of the New Testament doing this with the Old Testament? No. Did Jesus call scholars? No, only Paul who probably had to unlearn most of what he was taught.

People were killed for wanting a Bible translated into their own language during the he Reformation. There is no need to add a scholarly class to tell us we can’t read it on our own. Is the believer in a remote part of the world that just got their hands on a Bible going to read Genesis 1-11 through its ANE context? No. You can learn scriptures as a child. Does any child reading Genesis 1 interpret them as he says, on their own? I would like to see one.

2 Timothy 3

But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

This is the legacy of Martin Luther, more or less. That doesn’t mean there is no role for scholars who understand the history. We already have some 40,000 protestant churches, each with their own small variations on belief. What happens when it splinters to 40 million?


Joel replies:

Well, I’m sure they must go to somebody, but I haven’t seen much of it. Ham and friends just have their stock responses all ready to go–I imagine the reason why they don’t openly “appeal” to others is because they want to emphasize that they are just “reading the Bible plainly” and they take God’s Word over “man’s word,” etc.

As for that last question, I really don’t know. I’d like to think most scholars and teachers at the seminary level discuss the ANE context and know that it is vital to understanding the inspired meaning of the biblical text, but that being said, I really don’t know.

Please explain your basic understanding of the striking differences between Exodus 17:2-7 and Numbers 20:2-13.

  1. Why is Aaron present in the latter, but not in the former?
  2. Why is God angry with Moses in the latter, but not in the former?
  3. Why is God angry with Moses, but not with Aaron, in the latter?

I would like to see how your church presents the book of Ruth to your children, or if you don’t, how they interpret it on their own–especially Ruth 3.

Though Joel is right that the Hamsters focus on “plain meaning” sometimes to the neglect of scholarship, there are plenty of YEC PhD exegetes who know well Hebrew, hermeneutics, ANE background, etc. What I see from this group (and many of them are my friends and colleagues) is (1) an overly simplistic commitment to Gen 1(-11) as “historical narrative” in terms of genre, and (2) emphasizing more the distinction between the OT and ANE (tied to special revelation) rather than allowing more common ground. Obviously each of these would need some unpacking.

[Note: Mod edit to remove some unneeded html code.]


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