It seems that many people do not realize just how “progressive” the Bible is. In England, some of these individuals decided to take out their frustration with the Bible by writing some unkind words in a Bible set out for public display.
This recent incident illustrate why it is vital, for both believer and non-believer, to read the Bible in its proper context. By failing to do so, readers often fall into the trap of presentism and by so doing, may reject the Bible completely or read it in such a way as to become zealous, dogmatic, and dangerous.
I must begin by stating that I am a theist. I believe strongly in a benevolent God; a God who is, to me at least, both incomprehensible and indescribable. I have faith in God’s benevolence although I am incapable of understanding, and thus completely unaware, of God’s cosmic purpose or “plan.” The comments I offer below should be understood in this context.
The work of Reimarus is considered the genesis of Historical Jesus study. Upon publication, Reimarus felt compelled to conceal his identity as the work’s true author due to the radical approach and extremely controversial conclusions he introduced to the study of the New Testament. As Strauss later observed, both Christianity and Judaism had been free from the type of skepticism and rationalism utilized to approach nearly all other subjects up until the 18th century and the skeptical eye of Reimarus.