1st Edition

Misusing Scripture What are Evangelicals Doing with the Bible?

Edited By Mark Elliott, Kenneth Atkinson, Robert Rezetko Copyright 2023

    Misusing Scripture offers a thorough and critical evaluation of American evangelical scholarship on the Bible. This strand of scholarship exerts enormous influence on the religious beliefs and practices, and even cultural and political perspectives, of millions of evangelical Christians in the United States and worldwide. The book brings together a diverse array of authors with expertise on the Bible, religion, history, and archaeology to critique the nature and growth of "faith-based" biblical scholarship. The chapters focus on inerrancy and textual criticism, archaeology and history, and the Bible in its ancient and contemporary contexts. They explore how evangelicals approach the Bible in their biblical interpretation, how "biblical" archaeology is misused to bolster distinctive views about the Bible, and how disputed interpretations of the Bible impact issues in the public square. This unique and timely volume contributes to a greater understanding and appreciation of how contemporary American evangelicals understand and use the Bible in their private and public lives. It will be of particular interest to scholars of biblical studies, evangelical Christianity, and religion in the United States.

    Part 1. Introduction

    1. Introducing Misusing Scripture: What Are Evangelicals Doing with the Bible?

    Robert Rezetko, Mark Elliott, and Kenneth Atkinson

    Part 2. Inerrancy and Textual Criticism

    2. The Error of Biblical Inerrancy—The Bible Does Not Exist!

    Kenneth Atkinson

    3. Building a House on Sand: What Do Evangelicals Do When They Do Textual Criticism of the Old Testament?

    Robert Rezetko

    Part 3. Archaeology and History

    4. Christian Fundamentalism, Faith, and Archaeology

    William G. Dever

    5. The New York Times and the Sensationalizing of Archaeological Stories from the Holy Land, 1920–1930

    Mark Elliott

    Part 4. The Bible in Its Ancient Context

    6. "Your Eye Shall Have No Pity": Old Testament Violence and Modern Evangelical Morality

    Joshua Bowen

    7. Avoiding the Apocalypse in the Book of Daniel

    Ian Young and Thomas J. Elms

    8. A Resurrection Fallacy

    Bruce Chilton

    Part 5. The Bible in Its Contemporary Context

    9. Why Academic Biblical Scholars Must Fight Creationism

    Hector Avalos

    10. Second-Amendment Exegesis of Luke 22:35–53: How Conservative Evangelical Bible Scholars Protect Christian Gun Culture

    Tony Keddie

    11. Virginal Blood of the Marriage Covenant: Deuteronomy 22:13-21 in Evangelical Purity Culture

    Joy A. Schroeder

    12. Essentializing "Woman": Three Neoliberal Strategies in the Christian Right’s Interpretations on Women in the Bible

    Susanne Scholz


    Mark Elliott was Adjunct Professor in Judaic Studies at the University of Arizona.

    Kenneth Atkinson is Professor of History at the University of Northern Iowa.

    Robert Rezetko is an Independent Scholar and Associate Researcher at Radboud University Nijmegen, the University of Copenhagen, and the University of Sydney.