Have you ever read or heard this phrase? “Biblical scholars agree … (something, something).” The words may get couched with qualifiers like most or many, but virtually never are qualifications for such standing within any group of scholars, bona fides, or verifiable statistics provided. We are to accept something because someone said that most biblical scholars think so, when none of them has ever been asked. We are not told who they are, unless they are the ones doing the reporting.
That’s because there is no agreed-to standard or licensing agency for those referred to as bible scholars or experts. When you see that phrase, it is nonsense (BS is for biblical scholars). It is a fallacious appeal to authorities that may not exist. In fact, unless it is specific as to who makes the claim and is supported by factual evidence, it’s usually made up: a lie.
I find it odd that someone would have to resort to fiction to support a biblical claim.
Yet, there are such biblical experts. In fact, here is a post by one (because he says he is one) that talks about them and what they don’t do.
He says that biblical scholarship is an intellectual enterprise (okay, but usually tainted). He also claims that scholarship in the field of biblical studies is always linked with ideological, political, cultural, and religious commitments (i.e., biases). Most of these folks have a dog in the fight and his name is bias. He is fed opinion and religious dogma through indoctrination and education.
In the discussion, the scholar goes on to state that biblical scholars not only do not study the Bible, they are not theologians or historians, do not read the Bible in Hebrew and Greek, are not objective intellectuals, and do not read the Bible for the church.
Taken individually, or even as an identified group such as Vatican biblical scholars, or those employed by BYU or Ouachita Baptist University, especially if named and verified, opinions can be taken with stronger academic validity than when the broader term biblical scholars (implying all) is used.
A person who has done advanced study in a unique field is a considered a scholar, but the focus may be unclear. One may be awarded a master’s degree in advanced studies, none of which includes anything biblical. My master’s level concentrations included Sociology, Public Administration/Political Science/Government, Education/Educational Systems Management (my MA)/Administration, and a boatload of advanced military stuff. I am a scholar of none, but Monday morning quarterback to all.
A person with a master’s degree in theology (maybe online) may not have taken as much Bible as another person with the same degree, yet an undergraduate from a Bible college may have taken several semester hours of required Bible courses or Bible history.
A person with a doctorate in theology may have a degree focused upon a specialty that was not the Bible, and it probably was filtered by the ideas of a specific religion or denomination. Or, at least, he or she had a view through that lens. I assume that these folks are the biblical scholars.
Generally, they are not secular. They are not without extreme bias (my opinion and experience), and may not be the authoritative experts we assume they are. And remember, everybody has an opinion, even scholars, scientists, experts, and village idiots.
Finally, to determine the opinions of biblical scholars, someone must conduct a survey of each and ask them questions (assuming bona fide credentials). To be valid, the survey questions must be structured and framed by experts so that the answers and assumed results are consistent, valid, and reliable.
So, when you see reference to biblical scholars, be skeptical of an attempt to persuade you with BS fantasy and lies. But you knew that. Right?