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The Case Of The Corrupting Consensus

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Chapter Summary

In this chapter, the author illustrates some examples from the area of the history of ancient Israel. For those who can remember the 60s and 70s one can probably remember some of the main areas of consensus in Old Testament/Hebrew Bible scholarship. The consensus starts to assert a powerful influence simply because it has been around a while. People will use the consensus as a weapon against new ideas. Instead of using weighty and valid arguments against the new thesis, they trot out the position that the existence of a consensus shows the other idea must be erroneous. The default position is assumed to be that of the consensus; the burden of proof is placed on the new idea. The trouble is that flaws in a new theory are used as a reason for rejecting it, but the consensus position is not evaluated on the same grounds.

Keywords: ancient Israel; consensus; Hebrew Bible scholarship; Old Testament

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