Cultural Encounters: A Journal For The Theology Of Culture Volume 11 Number 2 (Summer 2016) - Page 115

VOLUME 11, NUMBER 2 A JOURNAL FOR THE THEOLOGY OF CULTURE Cowan and Wilder’s edited work In Defense of the Bible is broader in focus than Blomberg’s book, consisting of an anthology of seventeen essays, ranging from philosophical considerations on why revelation is a reasonable conviction to addressing ethical questions involving biblical commands. While certainly not exhaustive, the reader will likely find questions and issues about biblical credibility of interest, even addressing questions that they may not have yet considered. In addition to the typical topics of apologetic interest, there are essays addressing forgeries, myths, and competing theologies highlighting the complexities and challenges involved in explaining and defending the veracity of Scripture. For example, one essay written by Richard R. Melick Jr. titled “Can We Understand the Bible?” addresses the important issue of hermeneutics, a topic often overlooked by many apologetics books dedicated to addressing the reliability of Scripture. This particular essay typifies both the strength and weakness of this book overall. Melick provides a good introduction and overview of hermeneutics despite its complexity and generally succeeds in informing without overwhelming the reader, but at points, the author’s explanations and/or arguments are likely to raise more questions that exceed the limited focus of the essay. This is to be expected given the complexity of hermeneutics, especially in light of post-critical literary theories, and given the spatial limitations of an essay. But Melick’s essay, and the book overall, do a good job introducing the reader, especially for those who lack familiarity with the academic issues surrounding biblical scholarship. And for those wanting to go deeper on the variety of issues surrounding biblical veracity, many of the essays provide ample footnotes that will provide such opportunities for further exploration. Given the wide scope of the essays, this book is a great introduction to the many questions and challenges posed by our increasingly skeptical culture about the Bible. So while many continue to question the very notion of biblical truth, both in academic circles and in popular culture, these two books will prove to be valuable asset for Evangelical Christians who seek to understand the origin and truthfulness of Scripture in a context of cynicism. Michael L. Gurney Multnomah University 112