by Neil Godfrey
Questions I had posted to Bart Ehrman’s Public Forum have disappeared more than once into thin air. So I decided to keep copies of whatever I posted to his Public Forum.
But first, let’s be charitable and be clear about the comments of mine he has allowed to appear on his site.
I posted the following comment to his Forum but it sat there in his “moderation queue” for some days before it finally appeared. So that when it did finally appear there were many more subsequent post already on the page and mine was lost way back in the middle of a long chain somewhere. Who would ever notice it? But here it is:
Neil Godfrey April 26, 2012
It looks like Earl Doherty is damned if he doesn’t engage with the scholarship and now he is damned if he does. I find it curious that the one example Bart refers to that supposedly makes him look dishonest or somehow implying that Morna Hooker is supporting his interpretation of a celestial crucifixion is identical to the one example advanced by James McGrath — and which was answered by Doherty himself as follows:
She stated a principle (Barrett once stated a possible meaning in regard to a Greek phrase which I was able to make use of, though in a manner he did not). It is completely legitimate for me to appeal to such observations when they can be applied to a mythicist interpretation, even if the scholar himself or herself does not choose to make the same application of their observations. Hooker pointed out the principle involved in counterpart guarantees: “Christ becomes what we are (likeness of flesh, suffering and death), so enabling us to become what he is (exalted to the heights).” That principle stands, it works in both cases, whether it is applied to a Christ perceived to be acting on earth, or a Christ perceived to be acting in the heavens. I am well aware that Hooker applies it to the former; she understands it in that context. That doesn’t necessitate her being right. I can take the same principle and understand it in the context of a heavenly death and rising. Because I don’t conform to Hooker’s context does not necessitate me being wrong. This is simple logic . . . .
I submit that it is simply absurd to suggest that Doherty at any point misleads anyone to think the scholars he engages with support his mythicist view. Of course they don’t, and Doherty at no point hides that fact. Right from the opening page he makes it clear what is already clear to everyone — that is argument is “radical” and obviously contrary to the mainstream view. And as I point out in my post, Doherty regularly acknowledges and addresses the fact that scholars do not draw the same conclusions as he does.
Doherty has handled the scholarship in a scholarly manner, and has never pretended to be a professional scholar himself — he explains why he writes in the style he does, and for whom, and what his educational background is — so it is quite unfair to fault Doherty for appearing to be a scholar among scholars.
Is it wrong for an amateur to seriously engage with the professional scholarship and draw different conclusions through that serious engagement?
Well, at least it finally appeared. Bart is not afraid to have dissident voices heard after all, at least as long as they can only faintly be heard from the middle of a large room.
But at the same time I had posted another comment, so understand how doubly excited I was to see that it, too, had appeared there at long last in the middle of a long chain, most of which consisted of more recent comments:
Neil Godfrey April 26, 2012
I appreciate that you have acknowledged that some of your statements were ambiguously worded. But there is one wording that I have a difficult time understanding and I would appreciate a clarification about it.
You quote Doherty as saying that there was only “one view” of the universe among the ancients, and in this context quote page 97 of his revised edition of his book. But page 97 of that book says “views”, plural, and the remainder of the sentence also expresses plurality. He also addresses the Stoics, Epicureans as well as Neo-Platonists. And of course, Platonism was a strong influence through Stoicism itself. Doherty’s entire argument is premised upon the variety of ancient views extant at the time.
So I was wondering if you could clarify why you appeared to make a sustained argument (repeated several times) that Doherty wrote that their was only one view of the world among ancients?
I was especially excited about this one because it’s a question I have forwarded him more than once before, though by personal email, and he had never replied. (He did, however, reply to other emails I sent at the same time asking him if he did really read all of all of the books by mythicists he reviewed in his book.)
But lo, the only response to my comment was from another everyday person like me, Claude:
Claude April 27, 2012
This is disingenuous. I know you know the quote came from p. 95 of Jesus Puzzle!
Well, Claude had indeed in another venue offered me that source as the quotation in question, but I wanted to hear it from Bart Ehrman himself. The reason? He had assured me in an earlier email he had read Doherty’s more recent book where he corrected that wording. Why would he quote an older book when he knew in the revised version the particular wording had been corrected? So this is what I posted, and this is what sat in the moderation queue for some hours, and then was trashed into the delete-bin. Ehrman, or his employees, deemed this post should not appear on his Public Forum — The Banned Post:
No Claude, I do not know that. I asked Dr Ehrman if he specifically read the whole of Jesus:Neither God Nor Man and in his reply he assured us he certainly did. Now if Dr Ehrman read that book as he says, and if he also read page 97 which he cites immediately prior to asserting Doherty makes this claim for a single world view among the ancients, then I fail to understand why he repeatedly made this claim that was clearly false.
So we know Dr Ehrman read both Doherty books. We must take his word for it. So perhaps he can explain why he repeatedly claimed Doherty wrote what he did not write in the revised version.
I want to hear from Dr Ehrman his explanation for this. If he really was quoting from The Jesus Puzzle page 95 then will he explain why he did so after reading what he read on page 97 of Jesus: Neither God Nor Man?
This is not a one-off, by the way.
Dr Ehman also quotes from G. A. Wells more than once and then asserts that Wells says the very opposite of what he argues on those very same pages. I have pointed this out in my latest blog post, “The Facts of the Matter, Carrier 9, Ehrman 1.”
I would advise Bart Ehrman that he would be guaranteed to increase the donations to his charities from people keen to enter his more “private blog” if he could demonstrate that they could see that even critical questions will be aired and dealt with seriously.
Perhaps others who have accessed his private blog might raise the question and give me any feedback on his response.