With all due respect (and a lot of agreement with a lot of what you write), I don't know if the comment that critical textual scholarship in the hands of those with religious convictions is likely unreliable ("won't cut the mustard," as you put it). Being quite familiar with the process, I have to say this can't be the case universally.
In my college days, I became good friends with a Bible scholar who was, get this, an atheist. And he is not the only one, I learned from him. Did you know that some religious Jews are also atheist at the same time? And some of these are scholars too.
I know, it wouldn't make sense according to what we were taught in the Watchtower. But like Buddhism, belief in deity is not central or relevant to Judaism. The whole "God is dead" mantra actually is ascribed to some of the Jews who, surviving the Holocaust (and before the Jews returned to Israel and the Six-Day War) came to the conclusion that the only possibility allowing for such a thing was the death of the God of Abraham...interesting story, but that is getting off the subject.
The point is that critical Biblical analysis is a methodology, like science. That means scholars have to develop a working hypothesis, prove their theory, and have their results validated by disinterested parties before they can publish and use their conclusions-- just like any other critical method demands.
Becuase not all Biblical scholars believe in God or are religious, it helps in the validating process. The majority of such academic findings is that Scripture is largely allegorical or written in similar narrative. Now if you are against such views, then you agree with conservative Christians that the Bible is fact. But knowing you don't means you agree with the main conclusions of the method.
The majority of Christian leaders do as well, but it seems in America (where Fundamentalism is creeping into the Catholic Church) this is not sitting well. Under direction of the Holy See, the American bishops have limited the American Catholics to one official Bible text, the New American Bible Revised Edition, and it is so heavy in critical footnotes that some pages are more than half critical notation.
Some conservative Catholics, in a demand to embrace some of the interpretations popular among Fundametalist neighbors, have attempted to revise an older Catholic Bible translation as an alternative to the one approved by the USCCB. But the American bishops will not give this version approval for public or private use (an imprimatur is required for Catholics to even privately read a Bible version), with the Holy See and apparently Pope Francis backing up the necessity of critical scholarship and some of its conclusions, even at the expense of revising some traditions. The issue is splitting the American Church at present, and the views from both ends are becoming more and more polarizing instead of seeking a way to build bridges. I've seen fights break out between Catholics over which Bible version they use, the approved Bishop's or the "other" conservative one.
I won't say that some of what gets published isn't colored by the overtly religious views of some (and you can definitely see that when it is happening), but this is not representative of the picture at large which is splitting the largest American Christian denomination over Bibles. Catholics who accept the NABRE on one side and others embracing a cleverly mislabeled RSV "2nd Catholic edition" on the other.
This wouldn't be hapenning if the critical method produced Bible theology that merely pandered to religious people.