Despite the somewhat funny title, Do Historical Matters Matter to Faith (henceforth DHMMF) is no joke! It is a behemoth of a book that is as academic in orientation as it is broad in the number of topics addressed. Spanning a wide variety of theological and historical issues, DHMMF is as much a treatment of biblical criticism as anything else.
The variety of topics addressed are too numerous to recount here, so allow me to point out a few of my favorites. I thoroughly enjoyed and benefitted from Alan Millard’s “Daniel in Babylon” essay. It seemed that Millard was willing to take on outlandish critical theories regarding the book of Daniel without overstating the evidence for the traditional view of Daniel. Further, Darrell Bock’s entry on “Precision and Accuracy” is a must read for any student of the Scriptures. Moreover, he provides a level of ancient cultural understanding and theological nuance that is often overlooked in evangelical circles.
Three other essays are worth mentioning. First, Mark Thompson’s handling of issues relating to inerrancy is well worth your time. Nothing groundbreaking is discussed here but he aids the reader in developing a strong framework with which to understand inerrancy concepts. Second, Eckhard Schnabel does a fine job in assessing the critical approaches to the authorship of I Timothy and Titus. Third, Richard Hess dives head first into the current debate on Yahwist cultism in pre-Judiasm, Israelite religion. Specifically, he makes a dedicated effort to tackle the notion of Yahweh having a consort. So, if you are interested in evolutionary religion discussions, the work of Hess will be quite valuable to you.
Overall, I highly recommend DHMMF. There were a few essays I read and then wondered why they were included in this book. However, the sheer breadth of topics addressed tends to provide occasion for there to be some entries that seem out of place. Still, DHMMF is an academic achievement that should be widely read!