In The Beginning: Critical Concepts for the Study of the Bible is not an introduction to biblical content in the traditional sense. This text asks students to think like critical biblical interpreters. Each essay presents important questions about the Bible and the complex nature of biblical interpretation and provides each student with the means to address these questions with skill and sophistication. These essays are neither exhaustive treatments of the respective topics nor are they intended to answer all of the questions surrounding the topics. To provide a foundation for future study, the author develops a process of thinking and learning by which students can begin to independently raise further questions and generate new and more creative insights. These sixteen essays are written for those who are beginning the critical study of the Bible. Aageson believes that in thinking seriously about the Bible, critical minds will be honed; and that in bringing passion and curiosity to the study, enduring wisdom may be achieved. Every student of the Bible should read this text.
Introduction -- An Issue of Distance -- Two Religions, One Set of Texts -- A Matter of Method -- From a Hunch to a Hypothesis -- What About Language? -- To Hear and to See -- Be It History or Literature? -- The Bible: A Book or a Library? -- Like an Ever-flowing Stream -- Let's Just Read It Literally -- What Is Truth? Fact, Myth, and Moral Critique -- This Canon Has One “N” -- The Three Legs of Interpretation -- A Question of Purity -- Digging in the Text and in the Dirt -- The Bible and the Examined Life