2011-03-22

Refreshing honesty of Jim West, part 2

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by Neil Godfrey

So there’s a supposedly new discovery that is about to shatter everything we thought we knew about early Christianity etcetera etcetera blah blah blah. No, no, that’s just the headline or header paragraph to grab readers on the cheap: Are lead tablets discovered in a remote cave in Jordan the secret writings about the last years of Jesus? I read nothing in the article about Jesus. But ho hum, that’s headlines and marketing of news media.

Dr Jim West appears to despise all I stand for in this blog (atheism, serious consideration of the Christ myth theory in any explanation for Christianity) but I sometimes find more honesty among such “reactionary” or “conservative” scholars (I don’t know what descriptor really applies for American readers — and I am using “conservative” here in a more universally orthodox sense than in what it means in an insular U.S. context) than among some scholars who seem to pride themselves on more liberal (again in the non-U.S. sense) values.

He wrote: Without provenance, without context, there is no meaning. This is true of both texts and artifacts.

Now where were we in our discussion of the canonical gospels? Their provenance is . . .  ? Their context is  . . .  ?

Or are some questions valid only when applied to that proverbial “Other”?


Related post:

/2010/09/20/the-refreshing-honesty-of-jim-west/

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  • 2011-03-23 05:14:55 GMT+0000 - 05:14 | Permalink

    This article from the Jewish Chronicle Online (http://www.thejc.com/judaism/judaism-features/46028/heavy-metal-secrets-a-mid-east-cave) has photos of the codices.

  • Steven Carr
    2011-03-24 08:18:28 GMT+0000 - 08:18 | Permalink

    Professor Larry Hurtado is also refreshingly honest about the need for provenance.

    http://cscoedinburgh.wordpress.com/2011/03/23/lead-tablets-news-story/

    Of course, we will never know the provenance of the wax tablets that Professor Maurice Casey discovered – the ones used by Mark for his Gospel.

    It is rather an interesting philosophical point. Do imaginary wax tablets need better provenance than real wax tablets, or do they need no provenance at all? One for better minds than mine , I would say.

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