One of the great things about this blog for me is the instant peer review. I have often been able to get immediate feedback from people doing doctoral level work on various topics of interest. I recently had a student ask me to explain an interpretation of history I have offered, namely, that one of the unintended consequences of the Protestant Reformation was a trajectory that would split the books of the Bible apart into historical islands. The claim is that the historical-critical method was, in many respects, a natural consequence of the drive only to read the Bible literally. The "problem of biblical theology," the difficulty of finding a historical basis by which to read the books of the Bible as a single book, was an untended consequence.
I explained the hypothesis in this way: "By rejecting non-literal modes of interpretation, the Protestant Reformation set us on a trajectory of not reading any biblical passage in any way other than within the limits of what it first meant. But if we are not allowed to read it beyond what it first meant, then it will be difficult for us to see the same significance in the story of Adam and Eve that Paul did or to find as much significance in the birth stories of Jesus as Christians do."
Any feedback on this hypothesis? I can't imagine that I am the first to suggest it.