Today’s scripture reading comes from Ring Lardner’s short story, “The Young Immigrunts.”
N.Y. TO GRENITCH 500.0
The lease said about my and my fathers trip from the Bureau of Manhattan to our new home the soonest mended. In some way ether I or he got balled up on the grand concorpse and next thing you know we was thretning to swoop down on Pittsfield.
Are you lost daddy I arsked tenderly.
Shut up he explained.
Balled Up on the Grand Concorpse
Everybody else in the world has been blogging about Dr. Bart Ehrman’s latest book on the existence of Jesus, and I didn’t want to feel left out. But the truth is there’s not much left to say. Yes, it’s a disappointment. And yes, we expected more and better from a respected, popular scholar. On the other hand, it wasn’t that big a surprise, was it?
We might, however, be forgiven if we found the tone of the debate a tad over the top. We have learned, as the hapless four-year-old protagonist in Lardner’s story discovered, that there is no way to ask Daddy if he’s lost that won’t bring a harsh response.
It does seem odd, however, to see scholars with advanced degrees — public intellectuals who teach real students at real universities — stooping to personal attacks. More disturbing than the abuse is the apparent lack of unawareness exhibited by the perpetrators, as if to say, “This is perfectly normal behavior.”
Swooping down on Pittsfield
Mythicist authors certainly got an earful last week from the boys and girls in the Ivory Tower club house. Not only were their credentials or lack thereof shown to all the world and mocked, but they were also treated most graciously to free psychological screenings. They are all, it turns out, driven by their hostility toward Christianity, which is the only reason they cling to the preposterous idea that Jesus never existed. After all, what excuse do they have, given the unassailable arguments laid out by Ehrman? If they don’t agree with Bart, they must hate Jesus.
It’s a curious thing to see self-professed intellectuals call people out by name, imagining that they can read their minds, and that they somehow know why somebody holds a particular position. Check out what Joel Watts had to say on March 22, while slapping his colleague, James McGrath on the back.
Godfrey will only allow what information benefits him. Mythicists are by far and away the must [sic] subjective, because they like Young Earth Creationists, aim to prove by disproving, and they disprove by ignoring. They cannot answer, only circumvent and deflect.
That’s right, Joel. Why deal with the message if you can slander the messenger instead, right? Just remember, dear reader, these “honorable men” teach real students at real institutes of higher learning.
Chapter 10 (cont’d)
At lenth we doubled our tracks and done much better as we finley hit New Rochelle and puled up along side a policeman with falling archs.
What road do I take for Grenitch Conn quired my father with poping eyes.
Take the Boston post replid the policeman.
I have all ready subscribed to one out of town paper said my father and steped on the gas so we will leave the flat foot gaping after us like a prune fed calf and end this chapter.
Like a prune fed calf
We might also be forgiven if we admit to being baffled at simultaneously being told that scholarly consensus isn’t proof while being told continually that all “reputable” NT scholars believe in the historical Jesus. Similarly, we may be left scratching our heads when we’re told that “cranks” like Earl Doherty aren’t fully equipped to be true NT scholars. They can’t understand what needs to be understood, because they don’t know Aramaic, Latin, Syriac, Hebrew, and Coptic. Ehrman pats G. A. Wells on the head, saying he has at least done “the hard legwork necessary to make his case: although an outsider to New Testament studies, he speaks the lingo of the field and read deeply in its scholarship.”
Can you see the slippery slope Ehrman has embarked upon? He seems to imply that in order to have an opinion worth listening to, we would need advanced degrees in NT studies, and be conversant in all the source languages. In fact if you and I only had the depth of knowledge Dr. Ehrman has, we’d know that Jesus existed. But since we don’t, we should hold our peace.
In other words, not only do we not know enough to have a valid opinion, but we will never know enough to have a valid opinion.
With poping eyes
Apparently, the only degree you don’t need in order to pronounce a verdict on the historicity of Jesus is history. I know of many NT scholars with doctorates in divinity and New Testament studies, but (and please correct me if I’m wrong) I know of none with any serious training in historiography. Or is the study of history and the historical method different from all the other “required” studies for an NT scholar? Is this something you can “pick up on the side” while learning the “truly important stuff” like exegesis and medieval theology?
What’s really going on here? We are witnessing a serious backlash from the ivory tower. The scholarly class has no problem with mass communication when it’s used properly — namely, for them to transmit knowledge to the less educated. But they take serious issue with the true democratization of knowledge. It’s a clear and present danger to the status quo. Incidentally, this is the real reason why the power elites hate Noam Chomsky. He has the gall to tell people that if they have access to all the data concerning governmental policy, they’re smart enough to come to the right decisions — usually better decisions than the bloody ghouls who currently run the show.
Are you lost daddy I arsked tenderly
I hear rumors that behind the scenes Christ mythicists are happy that Ehrman has released his half-baked book to the public. It’s the old Gandhi quote again — “First they ignore you. Then they ridicule you.” Mythicists take comfort in the fact that they’ve finally entered stage two. Or is it stage three? — “And then they attack you and want to burn you.”
In any case the silence has been broken.
“Shut up,” Bart explained.