Daily Archives: 2011-07-19 20:48:24 GMT+0000

Why McGrath Should Honourably Step Down From the Debate

Dr James McGrath blogs as the Clarence L. Goodwin Chair in New Testament Language and Literature at Butler University. That is how he identifies his blog — it is the blog of the Clarence L. Goodwin Chair in New Testament Language and Literature at Butler University. So he writes as a professional, a public intellectual, and it is to the standards of professional scholarly discourse and the responsibilities of public intellectuals that he must be held to account.

If a judge or prospective jury member is known to have a conflict of interest or deep-seated prejudice that will inevitably affect their ability to approach the trial appropriately they have a duty to step aside. We like to imagine we have moved on from the days when an accused would be condemned whether they sank or swam.

So when McGrath

  • publishes an Amazon review of a book before he has read more than a small fraction of it,
  • and when he says he knows he will find an argument implausible before he even reads it,
  • and when he says he should not explain fairly or fully an argument that he detests because he fears someone might think favourably of it — thus conceding he does not respect his readers and lacks confidence in the power of reasoned arguments,
  • and when he finds himself incapable of thinking someone can present a mythicist argument with sincerity and honesty — that such a one is either incompetently deluded or a blatant liar
  • and when he refuses to respond (except with insulting barbs) to questions and posts addressing the discrepancies between what he says about Doherty’s arguments and what Doherty actually does write

then it is time he admits that he is no longer thinking of his opponents as normal, healthy, fellow creatures with whom he can have even a normal healthy human rapport. Every attempt at communication will inevitably be governed by feelings of contempt that scarcely will be hidden as innuendo and ad hominem inevitably surface.

When one reaches that point then one owes it to everyone to admit that one is biased beyond reason and incapable of engaging in a genuinely respectful and fair discussion. read more »

Does the Tel Dan Inscription ‘Prove’ David to Be a Historical Person?

Here I look at the argument that the inscription (bytdwd) apparently referring to David (dwd) or the “house of David” in the Tel Dan Inscription is best explained as a reference to an epithet (meaning “beloved”) for the god Yahweh.

This post is related to another about a week ago,  The Tel Dan inscription: the meaning of ביתדוד, “House of David”, which is  a look at George Athas’s published thesis. I ran into a problem, however, when I came to discuss Athas’s assessment of the evidence for what it tells us about the historicity of King David. I could not quite understand the arguments well enough to present in my own words, probably because they were largely a response to an article by Thomas L. Thompson. So I delayed further posting till I read Thompson’s article. Then I found I had to re-read an earlier article to fully get the hang of that! Real life keeps getting in the way and making me forget things I had read more than 2 weeks ago.

Did Biran Kill David?

So here I finally am. The notes are from a section of Did Biran Kill David? by Lemche and Thompson.

Lemche & Thompson begin this discussion by stating what they see as the first problem for deciding the correct meaning of the key word in the stele: read more »


I’m looking for other blogs that also discuss the Bible and Bible scholarship in depth as I do here. I don’t mean from the same perspective — no matter if they are Catholic, Mormon, atheist, anything — just curious to know what else there is in internet-land that discusses biblical questions as regularly and analytically as I attempt to do here.

Many thanks.

(Email me if reluctant to post here: neilgodfrey1[AT]gmail[DOT]com)