Gerd Lüdemann has an op-ed at The Bible and Interpretation website pointing out one of the obvious benefits of the historical critical method. That is, the historical critical method exposed a quite prevalent claim of New Testament and other early Christian writers – that the Old Testament predicted or prophesied or otherwise pointed to Jesus of Nazareth – to be a false claim.
It struck me that, in the current trend to dismiss the historical critical method, which often amounts to little more than a pooh-poohing, sometimes the dramatic ways in which hist-crit in fact increased knowledge have been swept under the carpet by the mystifying broom of theological obscurantism.
Sure, the historical critical method doesn’t do everything; but what it does do, it does well.
“… it must be clear that the christological interpretation of scripture practiced by the churches for two millennia is as anachronistic as the Ptolemaic model of the universe, and that early Christians distorted many Old Testament texts to make them point to Christ. Yet more troubling is the fact that while their over-zealousness may be excused on the grounds of ignorance, many today similarly misuse the scriptures to perpetuate an ancient hoax.
Having eaten from the tree of historical knowledge, we are no longer able to take seriously an interpretation of the Old Testament that leads to Christ. All glory, laud, and honor to the founders of historical criticism for liberating us from the christological madhouse.”
(Gerd Lüdemann, ‘Liberated from the Christological Madhouse’, The Bible and Interpretation)