Biblical studies: October 2005 Archives

I've run across statements at least a few times now claiming that evangelical biblical scholar Tremper Longman is "weak on inerrancy" or simply not an inerrantist. I've never seen anyone give any evidence of this. I've read all or most of the Introduction to the Old Testament that he did with Raymond Dillard, and there's nothing in there remotely resembling a denial of inerrancy. In fact, he argues that certain positions often viewed as liberal in some way are consistent with inerrancy, which makes me think he clearly is an inerrantist who doesn't want to give up that view. He defends particularly unpopular views among the mainstream, largely because he does seem to be an inerrantist (e.g. an early date for Daniel with a historical basis for everything in the book, which he defends both in the OT Intro and in a Daniel commentary). The Dillard-Longman chapter on Jonah argues that Jonah probably was intended to be taken as a historical account, but it makes it clear that taking it as a parable is just as consistent with inerrancy as taking Jesus' parables as parables is consistent with inerrancy. In his commentaries, he argues carefully why he thinks an inerrantist can think Ecclesiastes and the Song of Songs weren't written by Solomon. So what is it that leads people to question his commitment to inerrancy? Did he change his mind after he wrote all these things, is there something I'm simply not seeing, or are these claims just based on uncareful reading? I'm asking this because I really want to know where people are coming from when they say this about Longman. I really have no idea where this is coming from.

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