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Old 03-06-2001, 01:23 PM   #41
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penatis:
I think the man specifically asked for "secular" commentators. Let's give him what he asked for.
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Ish: Since I would think that Hubzilla would want both sides of the story to make an informed decision, let's ask him. Hubzilla, are secular scholars all you are asking for? If so, I stand corrected.

I think this question has been answered by Hubzilla.


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penatis:
It does not surprise me that Meier "tends to disagree with many of Koester's conclusions." Meier is a Catholic Priest. Koester is an historian.
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Ish: Your final distinction here is really pretty goofy.

Would you like for me to point out what I think is "goofy" about your commentary? Your comment adds nothing to the discusssion at hand.

Ish: They are both historians with the credentials to back them up. To see it the way you have presented it is less than academic, penatis.

They both have impressive academic credentials. They both should be respected for their scholarly methodology and acumen. However, one approaches the New Testament as a Catholic priest (one who has taken sacred vows), and the other does not, at least to my knowledge, he does not. I am suggesting that a person who has a vested interest in the documents he studies is much more likely to be biased than one who does not. Maybe this example will make my point clearer. I think both men could approach the Book of Mormon, or the Qur'an, with equal objectivity, i.e., as historians. I do not think a Muslim scholar could approach the Qur'an with the same objectivity as either of the afore mentioned scholars. Perhaps my clarification will better help you understand my statement. I didn't mean to imply that a Catholic priest could not be an historian.


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penatis:
Precisely what are you not "impressed" with? His scholarship is meticulous and solid and his conclusions are supported by a large body of evidence. Have you read either Jesus the Magician or The Secret Gospel? If so, which of Smith's arguments do you find questionable?
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Ish: Nice debating tactic, penatis. What, precisely, impresses you about Smith's work?

I should have been clearer. I have read Jesus the Magician and The Secret Gospel. In my opinion, the former is much more convincing than the latter. I should have qualified my statement by saying that Jesus the Magician is well-written and evidentialy well-documented. I think his conclusions in this book are supported by a large body of textual (and extra-biblical) evidence. Not so with "Secret Mark." While I consider Morton Smith's observations and conclusions to be honest ones, the possibility remains that someone may have forged, many years earlier, the document he found. "Secret Mark" is irrelevant to my studies of the NT, regardless of whether or not it is authentic. It is a well-known fact that many scholars did not care for Morton Smith, the man. However, very few question(ed) his honesty, intelligence, and scholarship.

Ish: I have read his book and find the part about the boy at Jesus' arrest quite interesting. However, to refute his work in detail would require having it in front of me which I do not. I also have read secret Mark in my New Testament Apocrypha by Wilson/Schneemelcher, 1992.

See previous comment.

Ish: According my book, Smith found the text in 1958, photographed it, did nothing to safeguard the original (which has not been seen to this day), and didn't publish the text until 1973. This book also mentions several damaging things about the manuscript: late palaeographical date (17th-19th century), differences of substance from Clement's other writings (J.Munck, H.von Campenhausen), text contains none of the errors typical in MSS tradition(C.E.Murgia), and the style is too Marcan to be Mark (C.C. Richardson). There is more, but I'll spare you. Other well-respected scholars are quite skeptical of this text as well.

See commentary on "Secret Mark" above.

Ish: Penatis, please stop insinuating that I have not read what I am reviewing and presenting.

I simply asked you if you had read two specific books by Morton Smith. I didn't "insinuate" anything. What makes you think I did?


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penatis:
We should state this fact: F. F. Bruce is not a secular scholar. No one would question his knowledge and scholarship, but he writes as a Christian for Christians.
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Ish: I'm glad you recognize his scholarship as opposed to your silly comment about Meier earlier.

Once again, you have made a comment that is irrelevant to our discussion. Would you like me to point out what I consider "silly" in your commentary?

Ish: However, I'm still very puzzled by your oft-used label of writing "as a Christian for Christians". He is writing as a scholar for anyone. Period. I'll leave it up to Hubzilla whether he wants to read Bruce's work.

Hubzilla has reiterated what he was asking for.


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I recommend Robert H. Pfeiffer's Introduction to the Old Testament. The book is over 900 pages long and packed with detail. Its only drawback is its age. It was published in the 1940s.
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Ish: I'm not sure I've heard of Pfeiffer, but you can bet I'll check him out. Thanks.

I promised a book that talked some about the development of the OT canon. It is: The Journey from Texts to Translations: The Origin and Development of the Bible, Paul D. Wegner, Baker Books, 1999. This is an excellent text book for the development of both the OT and NT. Another book about OT history in general that I am fond of is: Archaeology and the Old Testament, Alfred J. Hoerth, Baker Books, 1998.


I am going to see how much each book sells for and possibly purchase one or both, based on your recommendation.

Ron


 
Old 03-06-2001, 02:00 PM   #42
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penatis, I understand where you're coming from about Christian as opposed to non-Christian scholars. However, I do not agree that Christian scholars are necessarily more biased that non-Christian scholars. As I stated in another conversation with you, both sides start their work with a set of presuppositions. The good scholars try to minimize those biases. If you don't believe this, then all the arguing in the world between Nomad, Layman, you, and I won't do us any good.

Also, please stop complaining about Nomad, Layman, and myself presenting some Christian authors. You did so yourself by listing Bruce Metzger. Hubzilla clearified his stance, so now only secular books are desired. Truly, though, this is a hard division to make since even "secular" scholars make use of Christian scholars' work.

As far as Morton Smith, there are many scholars that do doubt his sincerity and scholarship. Some still believe he forged the text of Secret Mark. Regardless, Jesus the Magician and its conclusions are based on and around Secret Mark, so I consider them dubious.

Ish
 
Old 03-06-2001, 02:55 PM   #43
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Ish:
penatis, I understand where you're coming from about Christian as opposed to non-Christian scholars. However, I do not agree that Christian scholars are necessarily more biased that non-Christian scholars.

I am not surprised, since you are a Christian.

Ish: As I stated in another conversation with you, both sides start their work with a set of presuppositions. The good scholars try to minimize those biases.

Some do and some don't.

Ish: If you don't believe this, then all the arguing in the world between Nomad, Layman, you, and I won't do us any good.

If you don't believe that Catholic priests have a vested interest in the text of the NT, then all the arguing in the world won't do us any good.

Ish: Also, please stop complaining about Nomad, Layman, and myself presenting some Christian authors.

I have not "complained" about anything. Hubzilla asked for a listing of secular writers. I provided one. I tried to distinguish between those writers who write without Christian bias and those who do, or might. Not once have I suggested that anyone should not include a Christian writer.

Ish: You did so yourself by listing Bruce Metzger.

Yes, I listed Bruce Metzger because he is an authority on textual criticism. I have quoted his cogent observations.

Ish: Hubzilla clearified his stance, so now only secular books are desired.

That is correct. It is something I knew all along.

Ish: Truly, though, this is a hard division to make since even "secular" scholars make use of Christian scholars' work.

And vice versa.

Ish: As far as Morton Smith, there are many scholars that do doubt his sincerity and scholarship.

Do you have evidence to support this claim?

Ish: Some still believe he forged the text of Secret Mark.

A very few have suggested the possibility. I don't think he did.

Ish: Regardless, Jesus the Magician and its conclusions are based on and around Secret Mark, so I consider them dubious.

Ah, so you have not read Jesus the Magician! If you had, you would know there is damned little in the book that can be even remotely connected to the "Secret Gospel."



[This message has been edited by penatis (edited March 06, 2001).]
 
Old 03-06-2001, 03:51 PM   #44
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He asked for "historical and secular" books.

Layman:
Simply because a book is written by a Christian it is not automatically ahistorical or sectarian. I draft plenty of secular legal briefs even though I am a Christian. Even when my religious beliefs correlate with my legal argument, the brief remains a secular document, containing secular arguments.


Isn't this nothing more than just your opinion?

Layman: You spend a lot of time complaining about bias and no time demonstrating it. You fail to explain the point that a Catholic scholar of the caliber of Meier has reached historical conclusions that are incredibly and diametrically opposed to his religious faith. Instead you simply make the conclusory point that Meier might believe in miracles, so he must be biased.

How can a man "reach historical conclusions that are incredibly and diametrically opposed to his religious faith" and remain a Catholic priest? This looks like a blatant contradiction.

Layman: If you have a problem with a scholar, demonstrate the bias, don't just proclaim it. Have you read Meier's A Marginal Jew? If so, where has Meier's analysis been affected by his bias?

Let's see. I have stated again and again that I RESPECT Meier's scholarship and knowledge. Where is the problem? I merely stated that the man is a Catholic priest and has a vested interest in the documents he studies.

I have read Meier's "Gerety Lecture" ("A Marginal Jew-Retrospect and Prospect")in which he reviews A Marginal Jew, chapter by chapter. At one point in the lecture he states, "Just as a historian rejects credulity, so a historian must reject an apriori affirmation that miracles do not or cannot happen. Even more so must the historian reject the unsubstantiated-indeed, the disproved-claim made by Bultmann and his disciples that 'modern man cannot believe in miracles.' Simply as an empirical fact of the social sciences, a Gallup survey in 1989 showed that about 82 percent of present-day Americans, presumably modern men and women, do accept the proposition that even today God works miracles. Bultmann and friends cannot tell me what modern man cannot do when I have empirical sociological data that modern man does it."

John P. Meier, Catholic priest, has every right to his opinions. However, I tend to agree with the views of Bultmann: miracles do not happen, regardless of what the Gallop survey indicated. Certainly, one can "empirically" demonstrate, to some degree, what it is that Americans might believe; however, how does one empirically demonstrate that particular belief is consistent with reality? Meier does not address this question.

Lastly, Why don't we leave it up to Hubzilla to choose the books and writers he wants to read? After all, he started this thread.



[This message has been edited by penatis (edited March 06, 2001).]
 
Old 03-06-2001, 03:52 PM   #45
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Geesh, penatis. I'm tiring of this circular arguing. I understand your position to be that Christian scholars are more biased than non-Christian scholars because they have a "vested interest". I disagree. And yes, I know you would expect that because I'm a Christian...

Back to the Smith book. Yes, I have read the book. If I had the time to go down to the library, I would point out to you the exact pages where he covers Secret Mark.

Regardless, lets present more books or be done with this. It is going nowhere now.

Ish


[This message has been edited by Ish (edited March 06, 2001).]
 
Old 03-06-2001, 04:06 PM   #46
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Ish:
Geesh, penatis. I'm tiring of this circular arguing. I understand your position to be that Christian scholars are more biased than non-Christian scholars because they have a "vested interest". I disagree. And yes, I know you would expect that because I'm a Christian...

Back to the Smith book. Yes, I have read the book. If I had the time to go down to the library, I would point out to you the exact pages where he covers Secret Mark.

Regardless, lets present more books or be done with this. It is going nowhere now.

Ish


[This message has been edited by Ish (edited March 06, 2001).]
</font>
I suggested long ago that we should just let Hubzilla choose the books HE wants.

 
Old 03-06-2001, 09:34 PM   #47
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by sentinel00:

What does it matter what they teach or what they officially studied to get a piece of paper? You are trying to show that what they said is false by attacking the man. Also known as ad hominem. What is really important- what they said, or who they are?</font>
Hi sentinel, and thank you for the compliment, although when sceptics start enjoying reading my posts, I begin to fear for the worst. Am I slipping up?

The question of the relative expertise of a given author is central to the question of how seriously we should take this author's work. For example, he or she may be a very nice person, and even highly eductated in a specific field. But when they are stepping out of that field, they then become "amateurs" in the classic sense of the word. And if they do not reveal the fact that they are an amateur in the field of Biblical studies, or their students fail to make that distinction, then they open themselves up to some very justly deserved ridicule.

Thus, for example, Josh McDowell is an amateur regarding Biblical studies. As is Lee Strobel. And so is G.A. Wells, Isaac Asimov, and D.H. Akenson. Now, these gentlemen may stumble upon some interesting points, and if their field of expertise IS involved (as, for example, it is when Akenson applies his knowledge of textual criticism to the Secret Gospel of Mark), then we have something to talk about. But when a professor of German tells us, against ALL expert opinion, that the NT Canons all date from the 2nd Century AD, or that Jesus was a myth, well, he shouldn't be taken too seriously, unless his evidence is overwhelming. Inevitably, we find out that it is not overwhelming evidence, and usually quite the opposite (see recently the discussion regarding D. MacDonald), and this person is quickly forgotten.

What I find curious is the assumption that I was attacking Mr. Wells, when what I did was merely point out the fact that his expertise is the German language (hardly relavent to Biblical studies), and a former Jesus Myther. The fact that he has come around, and recognized that Jesus did actually exist is to his credit, in my opinion, and I noted this as well.

Peace,

Nomad

P.S. To penatis. Are you interested in defending Koester regarding the Septuagint and 1st Century Jewish beliefs or not? I have been waiting. As for this thread, I think I will let you have the last word. Thanks for the fun.
 
Old 03-06-2001, 10:40 PM   #48
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Nomad:
The question of the relative expertise of a given author is central to the question of how seriously we should take this author's work. For example, he or she may be a very nice person, and even highly eductated in a specific field. But when they are stepping out of that field, they then become "amateurs" in the classic sense of the word.</font>
Amateur or no, their work should be judged on its own merits, not on the credentials of the authors. If only experts were allowed to comment on their fields, would we have any secular biblical scholars? Would Einstein have been considered an expert in physics when he came up with special relativity (or should all postal clerks just stick to what they do?). You state an excellent example for me below:

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Nomad:
But when a professor of German tells us, against ALL expert opinion, that the NT Canons all date from the 2nd Century AD, or that Jesus was a myth, well, he shouldn't be taken too seriously, unless his evidence is overwhelming.</font>
Who cares what his credentials are? Was he correct or no? Did he have the evidence to back up his claims or no? Being a professor of German does not preclude him from being right or wrong on a subject "outside his field."

This is still ad hominem fallacy. He can't be taken seriously because he studied &lt;blank&gt;.

If this Wells character was so demonstrably wrong, so be it. If he has no evidence to back up his claims, speak loud and clear to the fact. But why bring his day job into it? It isn't necessary, and doesn't redeem your argument. I've seen penatis do the same (claiming a religious historian can't be objective).

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Nomad:
What I find curious is the assumption that I was attacking Mr. Wells, when what I did was merely point out the fact that his expertise is the German language (hardly relavent to Biblical studies), and a former Jesus Myther. The fact that he has come around, and recognized that Jesus did actually exist is to his credit, in my opinion, and I noted this as well.</font>
The language of "attacking the man and not the argument" is one commonly used in texts describing the logical fallacy of ad hominem. Of course you weren't attacking Wells, rather penatis. However, I just used the language I was used to hearing. Instead of "attack," I probably should have used "discredit," or something similar, and you wouldn't've mistaken my intentions.

 
Old 03-06-2001, 10:48 PM   #49
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A word of apology is in order. Getting the damn cookies straight between my wife's new II account and my usual dominance over computer use is turning out to be a real challenge.

My wife is Glory, and last night was using this other terminal in my house to peruse the Sec Web, and make an occasional comment. (Yes, I'm sharing my already terrific DSL connection throughout the house. Tonight, I ran cabling out to the living room so I can watch TV and post to the II boards. Someone please come and rescue me when I finally reach 500 lbs and need to be forklifted through the roof!)

Tonight, the positions are reversed, and she has the comfortable chair and large monitor. Unfortunately, I wasn't paying attention and posted my reply to Nomad as Glory rather than sentinel00.

My apologies to Nomad or anyone else for any confusions. I think I'll just have to be gentlemanly and allow my wife to control the cookies on the nicer computer.
 
Old 03-06-2001, 10:58 PM   #50
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Glory:

Amateur or no, their work should be judged on its own merits, not on the credentials of the authors. If only experts were allowed to comment on their fields, would we have any secular biblical scholars?</font>
Of course we should judge a point based on the strength of the argument as well as the supporting evidence, however, I hope you are not, by your argument, denying the value of training and a lifetime of experience and work given by those dedicated to their field. Without such expertise we would be left in an egalitarian nightmare in which all opinions would be equal, without respect for knoweldge, expertise or wisdom. I think this would be the road to folly.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Would Einstein have been considered an expert in physics when he came up with special relativity (or should all postal clerks just stick to what they do?).</font>
Einstein had real training and expertise in physics, and could therefore study related questions. If he were to comment on medicine however, he would be an amateur. Similarily in the field of Biblical studies.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">You state an excellent example for me below:

Originally posted by Nomad:
But when a professor of German tells us, against ALL expert opinion, that the NT Canons all date from the 2nd Century AD, or that Jesus was a myth, well, he shouldn't be taken too seriously, unless his evidence is overwhelming.

Who cares what his credentials are? Was he correct or no? Did he have the evidence to back up his claims or no?</font>
In answer to your questons:

Had he had any real training or expertise, he would have known the reasons for his extreme dating of the Canons was flawed before he got out of the gate. And no, he was quite wrong, and no, he had no real evidence, and yes, he has been largely discarded from the lexicon of acceptable scholars in the field. IOW, no one that wants to be treated seriously quotes him any longer, since they know he has been so thoroughly debunked.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Being a professor of German does not preclude him from being right or wrong on a subject "outside his field."</font>
Of course not. But amateurs do have a tendency to make fallacious arguments that, had they studied the question more thoroughly, could have been more easily avoided.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">This is still ad hominem fallacy. He can't be taken seriously because he studied &lt;blank&gt;. </font>
I have not made this statement. The non-expert must be accepted with caution, and once his arguments and evidence has passed the muster of expert peer review, we can give it real credence.

Peace, and nice to meet you Glory. Welcome to the Forums.

Nomad

{Edited after sentinel's last post}

P.S. I think you are trying to lay claim to your wife's superior posting ability sentinel, but I won't hold it against you.
And nice to meet you anyways Glory (even if I didn't or haven't right now).

[This message has been edited by Nomad (edited March 07, 2001).]
 
 

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