Lately, I have been reading up on Old Testament scholarship, and most of what I have found really disturbs me. I was never a literalist or anything, but when I learned that even moderate scholars like William Dever who believe that, for example, the Davidic Kingdom probably has some historical basis still hold that Abraham and most of the story in Exodus never really happened, and that what became Jewish monotheism was in fact an outgrowth of Canaanite polytheism that exhaulted a particular god above the others until he was recognized as the only one existing. For example, Deuteronomy 32:8-9 is supposed to contain what many scholars consider an indication that Yahweh was only one god among many, and in fact simply the one who happened to have been appointed to the house of Jacob. Not all scholars agree about this, but the fact remains that if there was no Abraham or Moses, then all the rest of the Old Testament seems to fall apart, because the only one who is holding it up is David, who never interacts personally with God the way Abraham and Moses do.
I just don’t know how to take all this. I know I’m going to get a lot of answers hat say historical biblical criticism is a conspiracy by atheists to destroy the Christianity. Can we still believe if it doesn’t seem likely that there was a Moses or Abraham (I’d be less bothered by the latter, but the former seems pretty critical to the story the Bible is telling as a whole), and the Pentateuch is largely a Kerygma? Or should we say that we just have to have faith that the Pentateuch telling the truth, even if it was written a long time after the events it describes and doesn’t seem to match up with what is known historically about the area in the southern Mediterranean in the Bronze Age it is supposed to describe. I just wish I knew how to think of this in a way that would offer me some peace of mind, maybe from someone in the field of biblical scholarship who is still faithful but doesn’t resort to the idea that secular and historical critics are just, as I said, trying to destroy religion.