Read Kathy Keller's Review on Gospel Coalition here
Hi Kathy, Thanks for your review here. I recently led a book club group around Rachel's book. Both of her goals were accomplished in our case; we talked seriously about the ways in which we choose passages to be literal or not and we had open and honest discussion about biblical interpretation.
As a Professor of Biblical Studies, some parts were difficult for me as well. Not only are norms of historical critical exegesis left out, but also basic hermeneutical principles. However, I would like to suggest that a major piece missing is an understanding of reception history.
As you note, there are ways to interpret scripture that are long standing in academic circles, however, it is important to acknowledge that across the centuries people have not always followed these rules and have historically ripped passages from ancient, sacred texts and built oppressive theology upon them.
Additionally, we should be clear that the NT does not offer a monolithic agreement with the changes to OT practices introduced by Jesus and Paul, i.e., Peter and John continue to go to Temple after the crucifixion and resurrection (Acts 4,5), Jesus never says circumcision should be ceased, this is introduced by Paul and will be the major stumbling block of his ministry. The notion that Jesus' life and teaching, crucifixion and resurrection meant the end to varied interpretation and heated debate and schism over this is not faithful to the text. One need only to read the Pastorals and the Johannine letters to read into the troubles of subsequent generations of the church.
Of course, I wish all books about the bible were written by scholars, folks who had devoted life and training to such but that is my bias. Rachel gave the women in my group a jumping off point and our Spirit filled discussions carried us through.