Is the Old Testament dying?

But Marc Brettler, professor in Judaic studies at Duke University agreed there’s simply not enough solid data to prove that Bible knowledge is dying. The speculative dimension, he said, reminds him of Mark Twain’s famous phrase: “Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”

“David Playing the Harp” by Jan de Bray in 1670. King David is synonymous with the Book of Psalms. Image courtesy of Creative Commons

“There seems to be some human pleasure in saying something is dying and depicting the current generation as particularly worse off than previous generations,” Brettler said.

Instead of asking if the Old Testament is dying, Brettler said it might be more interesting to ask which limbs of the body are still alive.

For Christians, that’s probably the prophets and the Psalms. For Jews, it’s more likely the Torah, or the first five books of the Bible.

But Brettler also suggested Strawn’s book may have a larger purpose:

“If the book increases biblical literacy, if it’s a good alarm bell that goes off,” he said, “that’s great.”