REPLY TO MY CLASSMATE’S POST EXPLAINING WHY YOU AGREE WITH HER POST TO THE ABOVE DISCUSSION (A MINIMUM OF 150 WORDS)
The discipline of Critical Introduction is, to me, similar to the old journalism method of Who, What, When, Where, Why. Who wrote book XXX? What were they writing about? When was it written? Where was it written (this usually comes out as where was an earliest manuscript discovered, as we can’t really tell where exactly it was written)? Why did they write it? It is related to Textual Criticism, expanding upon the topics of Higher (authorship, date, history) and Lower (words). So why is it important?
It is important because a vast majority of the world follows one of the three Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Christianity, Islam). You want to know that what you are reading is not just the Middle Eastern version of something like the Iliad or Odyssey, but indeed the Word of God handed down to us. On the flip side, you may want to show why the Bible is not the Word of God but can be placed among some of the ancient world’s great literature. There have been, and continue to be, many critics of the Bible. Thanks to this discipline (and help from archeology), a lot of these critics have been shown the Bible is not just an epic story, but a legitimate historical document and worthy of consideration. This is an important case of ‘iron sharpens iron’; when a new critic comes forth with new evidence it requires a sound counter argument. This serves to ‘sharpen’ one’s faith (whether that faith is in the truth of the Bible or faith that it is not).
As for the case of faith itself, Critical Introduction falls short. This is not through any fault of the discipline; while it can be shown that the Bible is an accurate (and old) historical document, there is no way of proving unequivocally that it is (or is not) the Word of God handed down to mankind. Believers and non-believers still take it on faith that their position is true. Perhaps that itself is intentional? Free will and all..