What are some unbiased resources — credible articles, books, research literature (meta analysis), scholarly journals — that present scientific facts about the Bible (all versions) and the Christianity religion?
Hi! Thanks for asking Wonder to find unbiased resources that present scientific facts about the Bible and Christianity.
The short answer is I found eight books and four articles taking an objective, unbiased view of the Bible and/or Christianity. Most of the results found are books, since this is a very deep subject that covers an abundance of material. I have searched specific Biblical events, however, in order to find some shorter, academic articles on the subject. If there's any particular event or topic you would like for us to dig further to unearth more scientific, unbiased works on, please feel free to submit a follow-up question.
Below you will find a deep dive of my findings.
Quite a few books have been written as objective, scientific viewpoints on the Bible and/or Christianity. Here is a selection of those that are acknowledged as being as unbiased as possible:
1) The Christian Myth: Origins, Logic and Legacy by Burton Mack
Many "unbiased" views of Abrahamic religions come from sociologists, seeking to explain the rise and popularity of Christianity. Burton Mack analyzes sacred texts and looks at the motives of Jesus's followers and how they cultivated the rise of a religion.
2) The View from Nebo: How Archaeology is Rewriting the Bible and Reshaping the Middle East by Amy Dockser Marcus
This book takes an archaeological approach to looking at the Bible and its events. Recent discoveries are examined, using data to explain events in the Old Testament and show how the past has shaped issues in the Middle East today.
3) The Controversial World of Biblical Archaeology: Tomb Raiders, Fakes, and Scholars by Kenneth McIntosh
Another archaeological approach, Kenneth McIntosh looks at how the Dead Sea Scrolls can increase our understanding of Biblical history. The book covers the physical proof (or sometimes lack of) of various people, events and places in the Bible.
4) Did Jesus Exist? by George Wells
While written in 1986, Did Jesus Exist? is still a very relevant and useful meta-study of scientific theories behind Christianity. The book is known for avoiding speculation and opinion, and instead presents robust meta-analysis of current documentary evidence. This could be a useful text to examine for solid background, then supplementing with newer sources to cover more recent archaeological data. Professor Wells wrote another useful text two years later, The Historical Evidence for Jesus.
5) The Text of the New Testament: An Introduction to the Critical Editions and to the Theory and Practice of Modern Textual Criticism by Barbara and Kurt Aland
For a slightly different angle, this book is an objective look at the actual text of the Bible (New Testament) and how Bible versions are written. The authors are intimately familiar with ancient manuscripts and go into deep detail on comparing major versions of the Bible used today.
6) The Bible: The Biography by Karen Armstrong
Karen Armstrong shows objectively how ancient writings from all over the region and time came together to form the modern day version of the Bible. She examines both Jewish and Christian history to construct a story, but also highlighting how there's no "one" version - every text is and will be endlessly disputed. She also discusses some scholarly opinions on which Biblical events are likely historically accurate or not.
7) Who Wrote the Bible? by Richard Elliot Friedman
Rated highly by the New York Times, this popular work examines the authors behind the Old Testament. Using Biblical archeology and ancient manuscripts, Friedman's book reads almost like a "good detective story," as he attempts to unravel and explain the construction of this text.
8) The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration by Bruce Metzger and Bart Ehrman
In its most recent 4th edition, this book is highly regarded as a both a reference guide and textbook for an unbiased look at the New Testament. Metager brings together archaeological data, ancient manuscripts, sociological factors and recent research findings to show how the New Testament was built.
William Denver is an archaeologist studying digs in the Middle East for more than thirty years. He has written many articles and books on the topic and offers NOVA a brief rundown of some current thoughts of the scientific community with regards to the Bible and Biblical events.
2) Noah's Ark: the facts behind the Flood by Irving Finkel
Writing for The Telegraph newspaper to promote his new, related book, Mr. Finkel (who works for the British Museum) writes an objective summary of flood-lore and how archaeological evidence can give some credence to the possibility of Noah's Ark.
A short, older article, but still useful. Scholar Claudia Setzer examines how scholars in the 1990s were thinking about Jesus. She gives a useful meta-review of current theories and thinking dominating scholarly thought at the time.
An interesting article in the Journal of American Medicine examining the crucifixion from a medical professional's point of view. On a similar vein, there is also a book looking at the crucifixion from a forensic perspective.
In conclusion, listed are several books and articles taking a scientific, explanatory look at the Bible and Christianity. Some examine the religion in a broader sense, some look at specific Biblical events, and some look to explain how the actual text of the Bible came into being.
I hope this is helpful. Please feel free to ask Wonder if you have any more questions!