The Three Paradigms of Biblical Studies Essay

The Three Paradigms of Biblical Studies Essay

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The academic study of the Hebrew Bible encompasses thousands of scholars from around the world. These scholars use various methods developed by other disciplines in order to study ancient texts along with other approaches that are distinctive to the biblical studies.

Biblical scholars have recently divided the profession into three paradigms which are commonly referred to as the three worlds. Particularly, some scholars focus on the world within the text; others explore the world in front of the text; and others focus on the world behind the text.

Firstly, scholars who look at the world behind the text are concerned with understanding the world in which the Bible arose. Particularly, scholars specializing in this field seek to determine why the texts were written, what kind of source materials the authors may have used when preparing their text, and how these materials may have been edited in order for the community to integrate them into their own culture. These questions are ultimately problematic as there is a shortage of external evidence to disprove of conform their conclusions. As a result, this field is highly theoretical as new theories continue to arise. Additionally, scholars in this paradigm focus on the archeological and epigraphical evidence to understand if the events in the Hebrew Bible accurately narrate the historical record. Specifically, archeologists conduct excavations in order to uncover records from Israel so that the data may be studied by historians, while other archeologists incorporate literary records with the archaeological data to reconstruct the period in which the biblical narratives took place. This process is long and tedious as most data may be difficult to relate to literary materials. Als...

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...o validate Biblical narratives. This biased viewpoint is extremely problematic as individuals may interpret preexisting data in order to validate their worldview. For instance, Fundamentalists often hold the belief of a worldwide flood. This belief states that the Earth was once covered in water, in which every human and animal died, except for the ones saved on the Ark. The legend of a global flood is common throughout many cultures throughout the Middle East as it is believed to originate from an actual historic flood probably near the Caspian region. Despite the overwhelming evidence on to refute the notion of a worldwide flood, Fundamentalists often reject or use misinformation to justify their position. For instance advocates of a worldwide flood use the flood as an explanation for the existence of the geologic column, as well as other geological phenomena.

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