The better we understand the Bible via the Higher Criticism, the less useful biblical study becomes for theology. The more the student of the Bible is obedient to an inherited theology, the less he can understand the Bible, for his vision will be clouded by a vested interest in having what he reads there say one thing and not another.
W.C. van Manen was able to make his breakthroughs in early Christian literature, especially Paulinism, because he had ejected theology (with all its nagging) from the study. After he got some peace and intellectual privacy in this manner, he understood many things for the first time. What he understood, and the method he used to understand it, made traditional theology impossible.
You are in for an eye-opening experience as you read this first book collection of Van Manen�s only English writings. The supposed bedrock of even the �undisputed� Pauline epistles, the foundation on which the edifice of Protestant Christianity was constructed, appears to be just more of the same unstable sand as the rest of the New Testament. Dare you press on further? Will you be as open to shocking new perspectives as you once were, however reluctantly at first, when you first considered the Higher Criticism?
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