A common knock against inerrancy is that inerrantists can't produce "real" scholarship because their a priori commitment to inerrancy precludes them from asking certain questions or considering certain answers. "Real" scholarship is open-ended. Nothing is out of bounds.
Before getting to my main point, I'd like to make a few preliminary observations:
i) There's a lot of groupthink in "critical" Bible scholarship. Although there's the occasional maverick who bucks critical consensus on some particular issue (e.g. Cyrus Gordon, C. B. Caird, Luke Timothy Johnson, J. A. T. Robinson, Dale Allison, Martin Hengel), that's conspicuous by its rarity.
Take Peter Enns. When does he ever say anything that's surprising for a liberal Bible scholar? When does he ever present an explanation or interpretation that's unexpected? Didn't think so.
ii) By their own logic, liberals can't produce "real" scholarship because of their a priori commitment to methodological atheism precludes them from asking certain questions or considering certain answers. The main character in Scripture is a God who talks to people and intervenes in human history. Yet liberal scholarship denies that in advance. So it's like staging Hamlet without Hamlet. Edit out the main character.
Indeed, in addition to God, Scripture also contains people who say God spoke to them, and people who perform miracles. Again, liberals deny that in advance. They systematically reinterpret a religious text irreligiously.
So it's not just God that they edit out. They edit out Biblical prophets and miracle-workers. Like staging Hamlet, but leaving out Hamlet, Ophelia, Yorick, and Gertrude.
iii) Now to my main point. I was reading John Goldingay's commentary on Genesis (chaps. 1-16). Although he's liberal, ever so often, even liberal scholars may say something insightful. But I was struck by how thin his interpretation is. So prosaic.
To be sure, it's pitched to a popular audience, so he doesn't have the space to go into detail. However, Derek Kidner had half the space, yet he packs far more insight into far less space.
I think the source of Goldingay's problem is that, given his low view of Scripture, he doesn't find much because he doesn't expect much. If you think these are merely human documents, then your shovel strikes deadpan in just a few inches. Given human limitations, the meaning bottoms out pretty quick. The meaning can't run very deep.
Fact is, most Bible writers have less natural talent than the greatest poets, playwrights, and novelists. So if you deny inspiration, then you'd expect to find far less depth of meaning in Scripture than you can unearth in Shakespeare, Racine, T. S. Eliot, Proust, Joyce, Woolf, Kafka, Broch, Dostoevsky, &c.
I'm sure Goldingay would deny that he has a low view of Scripture, but for scholars like him, inspiration is indistinguishable from the absence of inspiration. As a result, his interpretations in Gen 1-16 are very superficial. Almost perfunctory. He doesn't think there's much to see here. How could there be, given his view of Scripture?
For liberals, interpreting Scripture is the easy part. By modern standards, the authors were simple men. Ignorant. Primitive. Short-sighted. Liberal scholars think they know so much more than the Bible writers they exegete.. It's the greater interpreting the lesser.
For liberals, all their ingenuity goes into the preliminaries. Reconstructing the sources and sitz-in-leben. That's the hard part. Once you have that out of the way, interpretation is a breeze. The Bible is too backward to be sophisticated. The complexity lies, not in what the authors thought, but the editorial process.
By contrast, it's the much maligned inerrantists who dig deeper. Who uncover layers of meaning. They don't give up so easy, because they think there's more to find. Inexhaustible meaning. Ironically, it's liberal scholarship that puts the Bible in a little box. For them, the Bible is all to human.