FRDB Archives

Freethought & Rationalism Archive

The archives are read only.


Go Back   FRDB Archives > Archives > Biblical Criticism - 2001
Welcome, Peter Kirby.
You last visited: Today at 05:55 AM

Notices

 
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 05-24-2001, 08:33 PM   #1
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post The Criterion of Embarrassment

There appears to be considerable confusion as to what exactly the criterion of embarrassment is, and how it is used by historians to try and determine what is most likely to have happened in history.

First, and most simply, in order for something to be considered "embarrassing" in this context the report need not be embarrassing to the person being discussed. In my example of Jesus being baptized by John the Baptist, I do not know of anyone that asserts that Jesus Himself thought that this was an embarrassing episode in His life. Second, even if it is embarrassing to the individual(s) in question, if the person making the report happens to be an enemy, or has a clear motive to want to promote this event, then it hardly need be considered a credible report. In fact, the opposite is most likely to be the case. Thus, for example, if Newt Gingrich claims that Bill Clinton is a cad who cheats on his wife, we need not give it much notice. But if Bill himself should admit to an affair, or his wife (who has behaved as his staunchest defender, and will herself be humiated by such an admission) tells us that he has cheated on his wife, then we have met the standard of the criterion of embarrassment. Traditionally historians will give a great deal of weight to such a report, accepting that the admission is prima facia embarrassing to the author of the admission.

From the study of history we have countless examples of the application of such a criteria. When John Dean confessed about the Watergate coverup before Congress, he was considered a credible witness because the confession was truly embarrassing, and meant the destruction of his life as he knew it. He even went to jail for his self admitted crimes (the granting of immunity still being a pretty uncommon event in the early 70's).

When Tacitus, an historian known to dispise Nero admits that Nero did all that he could to help the people after the great fire of 64, to feed them, house them, and to rebuild the city, historians take his report as being more probable, because in other places Tacitus goes so far out of his way to smear the memory of Nero as to cast serious doubts on many of his reports about this emperor.

When the emperor Julian (the Apostate) tried to crush Christianity in 362, he also at the same time praised their charity and kindness, and urged pagans (of which he was the foremost) to emulate them. Again, historians take this embarrassing admission by Julian as evidence that Christians of the time did behave in a socially admirable fashion.

When a politician, or a general admits to a dismal personal failing in a diary (especially if this person never made such an admission in public), this too is treated as being more probably true than not.

Quite simply, when a person is testifying against their own interests, and reporting an event that is embarrassing to them personally, or especially to their agenda (be it political, ideological, theological, or what have you), then historians, like lawyers in a court case, consider this "witness" testimony to be more credible. To be candid, I do not see why anyone would misunderstand this criteria, since we all use it in our everyday lives. If my son admits to breaking a rule, then it is probably true that he actually did this. If one of my staff tells me that they screwed up, then it is very probable that they screwed up. By the same token, if someone who dispises me says something about me, then I would hope that most people that know both of us would take this report with at least a grain of salt. This is pure common sense.

I hope that this better helps the members here to understand the uses of this particular tool. Of course we must recognize its limitations, and always be ready to view people's motives in a new light as new evidence about them emerges, but until such evidence is produced, the wholesale dismissal of this criteria is utter nonsense.

Peace,

Nomad
 
Old 05-24-2001, 10:04 PM   #2
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

I hope that this better helps the members here to understand the uses of this particular tool. Of course we must recognize its limitations, and always be ready to view people's motives in a new light as new evidence about them emerges, but until such evidence is produced, the wholesale dismissal of this criteria is utter nonsense.

And likewise its wholesale acceptance would be just as much utter nonsense. Who is to say with certainty what is embarassing to one person or another? (Particular ancient people from a very different culture) Who is to say that a story was an embarassment and therefore is likely to be true, rather than simply an effort to make a desired point or teach a theological lesson? Was Peter's denial of Jesus an "embarassment" or an invention on the part of the writer to emphasize the flawed nature of humanity in the face of danger? (Perhaps even intended as a lesson to others to hold fast the faith no matter what their fears may be.)

The criterion of embarassment becomes a subjective judgement call. Which historian/scholar's opinion will we appeal to to see whether its warranted or not? Who decides when its a good tool to use and when its not? Perhaps we determine it by popular vote.
 
Old 05-24-2001, 10:28 PM   #3
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by madmax2976:

And likewise its wholesale acceptance would be just as much utter nonsense. Who is to say with certainty what is embarassing to one person or another?</font>
Hello max

Your point is well made, and this is why I offered my caution in using this method. At the same time, I would hope that you would agree that when we have a clearly defined set of interests, it is possible to accept what would be contrary to those interests.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> (Particular ancient people from a very different culture) Who is to say that a story was an embarassment and therefore is likely to be true, rather than simply an effort to make a desired point or teach a theological lesson?</font>
Is this a rhetorical question, or a serious one? The reason that I ask this, is that when people who study a culture, and regardless of their own personal backgrounds and beliefs, come to the same conclusions as to what those beliefs are (as well as what would be embarrassing to those interests and beliefs), I think we can show respect to the research, integrity and arguments of these experts.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Was Peter's denial of Jesus an "embarassment" or an invention on the part of the writer to emphasize the flawed nature of humanity in the face of danger? (Perhaps even intended as a lesson to others to hold fast the faith no matter what their fears may be.)</font>
While it certainly was an embarrassment to Peter himself, it is harder to say if it was an embarrassing episode to the evangelists that recorded it in the Gospels. I would not classify this incident as embarrassing by this criteria, nor am I familiar with any historians that have said that it meets the criteria of embarrassment.

Personally I think that it tells the story of the need and possibility for repentence and forgiveness. I also happen to believe that the incident is historical, but do not think that I can prove it by historical critical methods.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">The criterion of embarassment becomes a subjective judgement call. Which historian/scholar's opinion will we appeal to to see whether its warranted or not? Who decides when its a good tool to use and when its not? Perhaps we determine it by popular vote.</font>
I do not know if a vote is required, but when we have what is effective unanimity across disciplines and ideologies, then I think that consensus deserves respect. This is not to say that I have accepted scholarly consensus on all issues, but when I go against them, I need to have well reasoned arguments to do this (see for example, my rejection of the traditional dating of the Gospels in my thread on Redating the Gospels).

So, while I resepct your right to descent max, if you find yourself rejecting the research and conclusions of the overwhelming majority of scholars and experts in a field, especially when the claim is not beyond the realm of natural possibility (IOW, no extraordinary claims are being made), what is the reason you give for doing this?

For example, the big two "embarrassments" accepted by the scholarly community regarding the life of Jesus, is on His baptism by John, and His crucifixion. I have yet to see a reasonable argument put forward that disputes this consensus, so if you find neither to be embarrassing, what is your reasoning for this rejection, and what research have you done to confirm your own beliefs on this subject?

Peace,

Nomad
 
Old 05-24-2001, 10:51 PM   #4
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

NOMAD: I hope that this better helps the members here to understand the uses of this particular tool. Of course we must recognize its limitations, and always be ready to view people's motives in a new light as new evidence about them emerges, but until such evidence is produced, the wholesale dismissal of this criteria is utter nonsense.

EARL: Except, of course, in a debate about Jesus' very historicity, in which case the use of the criterion would be obviously question-begging. Those scholars who use the criterion validly already believe on the basis of other reasons that Jesus was an historical person. They then use the criterion to determine what Jesus probably did or said. Doherty pointed all of this out, and Nomad totally ignored the point in his last post to him, Nomad's very worst post of the debate. Nomad barely scratched the surface of Doherty's post, and apparently was doing his best J. P. Holding impression (the arrogance, the haughtiness, the abuse, the very selective treatment of his opponent's arguments, to which Nomad added arguments by assertion, sloppy over-generalizations, misrepresentations and blatant misuse of technical terms).

I suspect that Nomad leaned on this approach precisely to get Doherty to back out of the debate, perceiving Doherty's sensitivity to wasting his time on insubstantial posts. Now Nomad can claim that he won the debate by default because Doherty left. This often happens in boxing matches. One fighter thrashes the other, but to save face the losing fighter fakes an injury or tries to get disqualified to avoid being knocked out.

 
Old 05-24-2001, 11:03 PM   #5
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Talking

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Earl:

EARL: Except, of course, in a debate about Jesus' very historicity, in which case the use of the criterion would be obviously question-begging. Those scholars who use the criterion validly already believe on the basis of other reasons that Jesus was an historical person.</font>
Prove this assertion please.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">They then use the criterion to determine what Jesus probably did or said. Doherty pointed all of this out, and Nomad totally ignored the point in his last post to him, Nomad's very worst post of the debate.</font>
LOL! Am I still disappointing you Philip? How sad.

Prove that the scholars I have used begin with the assumption that Jesus existed, then used their criteria of embarrassment to prove that he existed. It will be nice to see if you have actually read any of the sources that I have used in the debate.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Nomad barely scratched the surface of Doherty's post, and apparently was doing his best J. P. Holding impression (the arrogance, the haughtiness, the abuse, the very selective treatment of his opponent's arguments, to which Nomad added arguments by assertion, sloppy over-generalizations, misrepresentations and blatant misuse of technical terms).</font>
Ad hominem now? On the other hand, I have not read Holding's critique of Doherty, so I suppose I will have to take your word for it.

On the other hand, do you have a question for me Philip, or are you merely trying to cover Doherty's hiny as he exists stage right? (BTW, do you know that he has left? He has not informed me or anyone else of this bit, and if he has, I would rather move my discussion back to this forum and see if anyone wants to try and defend his arguments).

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">I suspect that Nomad leaned on this approach precisely to get Doherty to back out of the debate, perceiving Doherty's sensitivity to wasting his time on insubstantial posts.</font>
Hmm... more ad hominem. You must be very disappointed in Doherty's poor performance thus far eh?

On the other hand, what did you find insubstantial in my post Philip? I would love to hear it.

(And just so ya know, I seriously hope that Doherty stays. There is a lot more I would like to go through with him about his arguments. But as I said, if he has fled, then I will bring it to this forum, and you can take your best shots).

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Now Nomad can claim that he won the debate by default because Doherty left. </font>
Well... were I come from (yes, I know it is Western Canada, but I can't help that), when one side forfits a match (twice), then it is generally viewed as a concession.

You are free to look at it any way you wish of course.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> This often happens in boxing matches. One fighter thrashes the other, but to save face the losing fighter fakes an injury or tries to get disqualified to avoid being knocked out. </font>
Yes, well, I won't tell Earl that you said he faked an injury, but you may want to withdraw this point before he sees it. We both know how sensative he is.

Look Philip, if Earl cannot or will not defend himself, would you care to step into the breach or not? If the answer is yes, then I hope you will do better than throwing dirt and whining about how I didn't show the proper respect to a true star.

Thanks for caring though.

Nomad
 
Old 05-24-2001, 11:32 PM   #6
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

I do not know if a vote is required, but when we have what is effective unanimity across disciplines and ideologies, then I think that consensus deserves respect. This is not to say that I have accepted scholarly consensus on all issues, but when I go against them, I need to have well reasoned arguments to do this (see for example, my rejection of the traditional dating of the Gospels in my thread on Redating the Gospels).

So far I have not seen any evidence of "effective unanimity" across all discplines in regard to the criterion of embarassment. I'm not sure how I would even go about ascertaining whether or not the unanimity exits. Do I take a poll? Do I assume that if a few of the more noted historians/scholars (who can be quote) think its valid that this means there is a concensus among all scholars of varied disciplines?

As for appeals to authority I think they can serve some purpose, but they are not strong arguments in and of themselves. History is a soft science, full of maybe's and perhaps and very little, if any, certainty's. Because of this, I think appeals to authority are less forceful than they otherwise might be. (I've seen a LOT of appeals to authority in this forum lately. )

So, while I resepct your right to descent max, if you find yourself rejecting the research and conclusions of the overwhelming majority of scholars and experts in a field, especially when the claim is not beyond the
realm of natural possibility (IOW, no exraordinary claims are being made), what is the reason you give for doing this?


I first have to know that this "overwhelming majority" is a reality. I know a few scholars can be quoted here and there, but I don't know how an "overwhelming majority" can be determined to exist in regards to the criterion of embarrassment.

But assuming a concensus did exist on the embarassment criterion, I personally have to know "why" its accepted because it seems to me to be a very "ify" kind of tool. Again, appeals to authority in this arena are not as forceful as I might find them to be in the hard sciences. At least in that instance I can check the data if I so desire and the evaluation is not so.. subjective.

For example, the big two "embarrassments" accepted by the scholarly community regarding the life of Jesus, is on His baptism by John, and His crucifixion. I have yet to see a reasonable argument put forward that disputes this consensus, so if you find neither to be embarrassing, what is your reasoning for this rejection, and what research have you done to confirm your own beliefs on this subject?

And I guess I just don't see the embarassment angle. Why is the baptism supposed to be embarrasing? Why isn't it just an example of the writer showing the humble nature of his hero in the effort to point out the good character of the hero and to serve as a lesson for others. (They should be humble as well.)

As for my own research, well...I find that I have to be a historian, a textual critic, a Greek linguist, a theologian, a papryologist, an expert on mythology and ancient cultures, and a helluva fast reader to boot. I do the best I can with the time I have and ask questions when I get a chance. Like why is the embarrassment criterion to be a trusted tool other than just because certain experts say so.

 
Old 05-24-2001, 11:58 PM   #7
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

EARL: Except, of course, in a debate about Jesus' very historicity, in which case the use of the criterion would be obviously question-begging. Those scholars who use the criterion validly already believe on the basis of other reasons that Jesus was an historical person.

NOMAD: Prove this assertion please.

EARL: Ok. Take any use of the criterion of embarrassment. If the criterion is used to prove that someone existed, the use is circular and invalid. If, however, the criterion is used to prove what someone probably said or did, the use is valid. This is all the "proof" I need offer given the use of the word "validly" in my sentence quoted by Nomad.



EARL: They then use the criterion to determine what Jesus probably did or said. Doherty pointed all of this out, and Nomad totally ignored the point in his last post to him, Nomad's very worst post of the debate.

NOMAD: LOL! Am I still disappointing you Philip? How sad.

Prove that the scholars I have used begin with the assumption that Jesus existed, then used their criteria of embarrassment to prove that he existed. It will be nice to see if you have actually read any of the sources that I have used in the debate.

EARL: Why on Earth would I want to prove that? Where did I say the scholars you cited used the criterion to prove that Jesus existed? Assuming they use the criterion validly, they use the criterion to show what Jesus said or did. For example, on the assumption that Jesus existed the criterion could be used to show that Jesus was probably baptized by John. But the criterion cannot validly be used to show that Jesus existed, because the criterion assumes Jesus' existence. Thus your use of the criterion in your debate with Doherty was fallacious.



EARL: Nomad barely scratched the surface of Doherty's post, and apparently was doing his best J. P. Holding impression (the arrogance, the haughtiness, the abuse, the very selective treatment of his opponent's arguments, to which Nomad added arguments by assertion, sloppy over-generalizations, misrepresentations and blatant misuse of technical terms).

NOMAD: Ad hominem now? On the other hand, I have not read Holding's critique of Doherty, so I suppose I will have to take your word for it.

EARL: Do you know what the term "ad hominem" means, Nomad? If so, you'll understand the difference between attacking someone's tone in the presentation of her arguments, and attacking the individual herself irrespective of her presentation. Guess which one I did.

Regarding Holding, again if you actually read what I wrote you'll discover that I claimed that your approach and tone were similar to Holding's in general, not specifically to Holding's attack on Doherty. Holding uses the same approach and tone in all of his writings. Thus if you read Holding at all, you could have emulated his techniques.



NOMAD: On the other hand, do you have a question for me Philip, or are you merely trying to cover Doherty's hiny as he exists stage right? (BTW, do you know that he has left? He has not informed me or anyone else of this bit, and if he has, I would rather move my discussion back to this forum and see if anyone wants to try and defend his arguments).

EARL: Doherty indicated at he end of his most recent post that is leaving the debate.



EARL: I suspect that Nomad leaned on this approach precisely to get Doherty to back out of the debate, perceiving Doherty's sensitivity to wasting his time on insubstantial posts.

NOMAD: Hmm... more ad hominem. You must be very disappointed in Doherty's poor performance thus far eh?

On the other hand, what did you find insubstantial in my post Philip? I would love to hear it.

[SNIP]

EARL: Again, do you know what the term ad hominem means? How is a suspicion as to someone's strategy an attack on the individual herself? What did I find objectionable in your last post to Doherty? Mostly your abusive tone and your lack of a detailed point-by-point reply. I do think, though, that your objection as to the unfalsifiability of Doherty's arguments on Paul's Christ has some merit. Doherty responded to this objection in his most recent post, claiming that there simply aren't many references in Paul to an historical Jesus, and that therefore Doherty doesn't even have an opportunity to argue in an unfalsifiable way, which would require explaining away a whole batch of controversial references, not just four. I think Doherty is right about this, but Nomad's argument here could be pressed. I think also that Nomad's claim that Doherty is inconsistent in relying sometimes on scholarly consensus, such as regarding Q, but not at other times is not an irresponsible criticism. Nomad's use of this point, though, was too general. To be effective Nomad would have to demonstrate a real inconsistency at a greater level of detail, since obviously there are differences in believing that Q existed and that Jesus existed. Of course, Doherty doesn't ever JUST appeal to consensus, but always supports his position with arguments.

I was not impressed, though, with Nomad's outright ignoring of Doherty's arguments. For example, Nomad simply repeated his point that John's gospel uses mystical language just like Paul's, and that therefore there's no point ini talking about Paul, even though Doherty already addressed this by pointing out the obvious differences between Paul and John. Only for John is a narrative about an historical individual central. And Nomad completely ignored Doherty's point that the use of the criterion of embarrassment in a debate about Jesus' very historicity is circular.



EARL: Now Nomad can claim that he won the debate by default because Doherty left.

NOMAD: Well... were I come from (yes, I know it is Western Canada, but I can't help that), when one side forfits a match (twice), then it is generally viewed as a concession.

You are free to look at it any way you wish of course.

EARL: Leaving a debate is obviously not equivalent to conceding defeat, although certainly a debater can leave, knowing she has no chance of winning but failing to concede in order to save face. I hardly think Doherty did that. I wish he would continue on, but I can understand the matter of time constraint. Doherty doesn't think the debate is worthwhile because of Nomad's unwillingness to debate matters in detail and without the prejudicial tone.



EARL: This often happens in boxing matches. One fighter thrashes the other, but to save face the losing fighter fakes an injury or tries to get disqualified to avoid being knocked out.

NOMAD: Yes, well, I won't tell Earl that you said he faked an injury, but you may want to withdraw this point before he sees it. We both know how sensative he is.

EARL: You fail to understand the analogy. My point was that YOU are the one who "faked the injury" by arguing in an abusive and sloppy way you knew he wouldn't like, to end the debate early and claim an easy victory given that Doherty would consider continuing a waste of time. You are the one who didn't want to continue the debate so you ended the debate, in effect, by compelling Doherty to leave. That said, obviously Doherty wasn't too eager to spend his time debating in a flexible setting. Neither of the participants were willing to debate on the other's terms. Once again, I blame the lack of moderation for not setting up guidelines at the start.



NOMAD: Look Philip, if Earl cannot or will not defend himself, would you care to step into the breach or not? If the answer is yes, then I hope you will do better than throwing dirt and whining about how I didn't show the proper respect to a true star.

EARL: I won't step into the breach because I'm not a mythicist per se. I'm agnostic as to whether Jesus existed. I believe the evidence is weak enough not to believe firmly one way or the other, but to forego judgment. On the other hand, I'm interested in Doherty's arguments, which is why I was eager to read the debate.

 
Old 05-25-2001, 12:10 AM   #8
Toto
Contributor
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Los Angeles area
Posts: 40,549
Post

The criterion of embarrassment has always sounded so flimsy that it has been hard for me to take it seriously enough to put together an argument against it. But after some research I have located a scholarly commentary on it.

From an online syllabus on the historic Jesus by Darrell J. Doughty, Professor of New Testament, Drew University:

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
Embarrassment -

Related to dissimilarity is what Meier refers to as the criterion of "embarrassment." The focus here is "on actions or sayings of Jesus that would have embarrassed or created great difficulty for the early Church" (Meier, I, 168). The most commonly cited example of this is the story of Jesus' "baptism of repentance for forgiveness of sins" by John the Baptizer (Mk 1:4-11); and another example would be the portrayal of Jesus as a drunkard and glutton (Lk 7:34). The rational here is that if such materials had not been firmly embedded in the Jesus traditions, they would not have been preserved and passed on. One problem with this, however, as Meier observes (p. 170), is that "what we today might consider an embarrassment to the early Church was not necessarily an embarrassment in its own eyes." (Even in Lk 7:34, while it is said that, in contrast to John, Jesus came "eating and drinking" - i.e., that he was not an ascetic - the characterization of him as a "glutton and a drunkard" is by Jesus' unfrendly critics.)


With regard to Jesus' baptism by John, Meier observes (p. 169), "It is highly unlikely that the Church went out of its way to create the cause of its own embarrassment." In a similar way, with regard to Jesus' not knowing the day or hour of the end (Mk 13:32), Meier observes, "Once again, it is highly unlikely that the Church would have taken pains to invent a saying that emphasized the ignorance of its risen Lord..." In both cases, however, it was not "the Church" that created these stories, but the writer of Mark, for whom (as Meier observes) such stories seem to have presented no problem. Mark's own reason for relating such stories may be obscure. Simply because such stories later created problems for the Church, however, it does not necessarily follow that such stories are historical.

Meier suggests that at least one reason such stories were preserved was "because there was a conservative force in the Gospel tradition. Indeed, so conservative was this force that a string of embarrassing events (e.g., baptism by John, betrayal by Judas, denial by Peter, crucifixion by the Romans) called forth agonized and varied theological reflection, but not, in most cases, convenient amnesia. In this sense, the criterion of embarrassment has an importance for the historian far beyond the individual data it may help verify" (p. 170). This is largely apologetic reasoning. If such stories were so controversial, the question is WHY were they preserved and passed on? Obviously because they had importance for the Church beyond their supposedly historical witness to fascinating events that took place once upon a time. Moreover, all these stories derive from Mark, and were already significantly modified by the very next writers who made use of them (Matthew and Luke): Jesus' baptism by John is explained or deleted; Judas experiences an appropriate death; Peter becomes the foundation stone of the Church (Matthew) and the head of the earliest community in Jerusalem (Acts); Pilate is let off the hook. One cannot really say that the "original-disciples-now-become-leaders" (Meier, 170), if there were such persons, took pains to preserve the original historical accounts. </font>
In short - the criteria of embarrassment does not prove what you want it to prove, and there is no scholarly consensus that it is a valid methodology.

In short, apologetics is bunk.
Toto is offline  
Old 05-25-2001, 12:22 AM   #9
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Post

This criterion could demonstrate that the deities of Mt. Olympus had existed, since they were not only shamelessly anthropomorphic, they had often behaved in shamelessly immature ways. Consider what shameless horndogs some of them were -- Father Zeus was a father in a very literal sense many times over. And how they laughed at one of their number as he struggled to move around as a result of his lameness. And how vindictive some of them were. King Agamemnon of Mycenae had once killed one of Artemis's sacred deer, and when he went to fight the Trojan War, Artemis sent a storm to stop his expeditionary force, and could only be appeased by Agamemnon sacrificing his daughter Iphigenia. Three of the Olympians, Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite, once tried to settle the question of which was the most beautiful by bribing that beauty contest's judge. Hera promised Paris sovereinty over much of the known world, Athena promised Paris great military prowess, and Aphrodite promised Paris the love of the most beautiful woman in the world.

So why are we so unwilling to accept their existence? Their conduct is sometimes so unworthy of rulers of the Universe that they had to have existed, right?
 
Old 05-25-2001, 01:33 AM   #10
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Thumbs down

Doughty writes:

This is largely apologetic reasoning. If such stories were so controversial, the question is WHY were they preserved and passed on? Obviously because they had importance for the Church beyond their supposedly historical witness to fascinating events that took place once upon a time.

SWL: No Doughty. That is not so obvious. Indeed, the stories are just as likely to be preserved because the Gospels, as ancient biographies, are interested in recounting actual events in the life of Jesus.

Doughty: Moreover, all these stories derive from Mark, and were already significantly modified by the very next writers who made use of them (Matthew and Luke): Jesus' baptism by John is explained or deleted;

SWL: Hence, further verification of the embarassment.

The embarassment criteria has nothing to do with apologetics - rather it is employed by the best of NT scholars across the board - liberal, moderate, and conservative.

Doughty himself is a bunko artist. The guy uses Freke and Gandy's "Jesus Mysteries" in a course on the historical Jesus! Hahahhahah!

SecWebLurker

[This message has been edited by SecWebLurker (edited May 25, 2001).]
 
 

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 12:19 PM.

Top

This custom BB emulates vBulletin® Version 3.8.2
Copyright ©2000 - 2015, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.